• Identifying patterns in signs and symptoms preceding the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

      Bature, Fidelia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-08)
      Previous research indicates that there is a major challenge caused by the late diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with no suitable diagnostic tool available for use in primary care. Aim: This research is aimed at identifying patterns in the early signs and symptoms of AD to suggest the development of a predictive model for the early detection of AD. Objectives: To; a) map, synthesise and appraise the quality of existing literature on the signs and symptoms preceding the diagnosis of AD via the systematic scoping review of the literature; b) identify patterns in signs and symptoms preceding the clinical diagnosis of AD in general practices via a retrospective medical record review study (RMRRS); c) explore the clinicians perspectives regarding the early signs and symptoms, issues surrounding the late diagnosis and collect recommendations for overcoming barriers to timely detection of AD via a semi-structured interview. Methods: This was a mixed method research comprising a systematic scoping review of literature from 1937-2016, undertaken using the descriptive analysis on the sequence and the timing of signs and symptoms preceding the diagnosis of AD. Methodological quality of studies was assessed with the QUADAS-2 tool as well as PRISMA guidelines and descriptive analysis followed. A RMRRS followed using the logistic regression analysis and a semi-structured interview of general practitioners (GPs) in Milton Keynes (MK) and Luton, using the framework analysis. Results: The findings from the review suggest that neurological and depressive behaviours are an early occurrence in early-onset AD with depressive and cognitive symptoms in the measure of semantic memory and conceptual formation in late-onset AD. It appears that there is a big variation in the patterns of signs and symptoms with cases of misdiagnosis. However, there was limited evidence due to the limited number of studies of this kind. The nested case control design of 109 samples indicates that auditory disturbances could have diagnostic value, with a range of signs and symptoms that appears at different time. While the interviews highlight and confirm areas for consideration in the primary care and NHS. Additionally, the study reports practices in relation to the early diagnosis of AD. However, the result is not an overall representation of the views of GPs. Conclusion: Findings suggest that individuals with auditory disturbances have increased odds of AD. This was more striking in the white female population, with borderline significance due to limited data that is too small to detect such an uncommon symptom(s).
    • 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.
    • If it's in the game, it's in the game : an analysis of the football digital game and its players

      Conway, Steven Craig (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-09)
      The focus of this thesis is the representation of football, as sport and culture, within the medium of the digital game. Analysing its three sub-genres - the televisual, the extreme and the management genre. This dissertation outlines how each configures, incorporates, rejects or ignores certain conventions, values and practices connected to the socio-cultural system of the sport, and the wider sport-media complex in its representational and ludic system. Though the marketing literature surrounding these games often makes claims to their simulational quality, these products will be shown to present very particular, dissimilar and above all ideologically loaded versions of the sport they claim to impartially represent. In an evolution of Baudrillard's (1983) concept of the simulacrum, these digital games will be revealed as euphemisms for sport, as inoffensive representations of something that may in reality be considered to offensive, or too harsh for inclusion into a marketable product. Also central to this thesis is the increasingly trans-medial nature of sport consumption, as the post-modern consumer does not simply distinguish between the various media he or she consumes and the 'reality' of the mediated object; indeed it is the mediation of the sport that now constitutes the dominant interpretation of its conventions and values. To quote John Fiske, the media no longer supply 'secondary representations of reality; they affect and produce the reality they mediate' (1994, p.xv).
    • Imagining organisational futures: towards a systemic constructionist practice perspective

      Miksits, Martin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-05)
      This thesis is an inquiry into the practice of imagining of organisational futures. The aims of this research are to promote understanding of imagining as relational, discursive and dialogical practice in organisations, to develop opportunities for imagining in organisations drawing on systemic and social constructionist theories and practices, and to develop propositions informing systemic constructionist practice. It is a reflexive, qualitative, case and practice based research, informed by ethnographic sensibility, using Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory and discourse analysis as research methods. The focus of this research is not to solve problems but to make sense and create connections. This research promotes an understanding of imagining as relational, discursive practice and a critical appreciation of imagining in organisational theory and systemic constructionist practice with organisations, in particular the relevance of imagining in organisational opportunity, alignment and coordination, organisational decision making, and organisation development. Reflections on imagining practice are articulated as concepts of games of imagining expressing archetypical discursive forms of imagining, discursive reflexivity, a practice of reflexive evaluating of the unfolding talk for the emergent possibilities in it, and game changing, an expanding of possibilities for imagining from within a conversational situation. Drawing on reflections from theory and practice this research promotes the relevance of relational, discursive imagining for organisational task attainment and makes a case for advancing imagining practices through developing the participation in imagining processes and by foregrounding and institutionalising imagining in organisations. It argues that such developments can be of a transformational nature and positions systemic constructionist practice as a resource for such a development. This research contributes to systemic constructionist practice research by developing practice based frameworks that serve to orientate practitioners in the living moment of practising. It builds on established frameworks of systemic constructionist theory and practice, expands their relevance, and also invites critical and appreciative sensibilities in relation to systemic constructionist practice. This research contributes to a small body of empirical case research into organisational imagining informed by social constructionist positions and ethnographic sensibility.
    • The impact of computer interface design on Saudi students’ performance on a L2 reading test

      Korevaar, Serge (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-01)
      This study investigates the effect of testing mode on lower-level Saudi Arabian test-takers’ performance and cognitive processes when taking an L2 reading test on computer compared to its paper-based counterpart from an interface design perspective. An interface was developed and implemented into the computer-based version of the L2 reading test in this study, which was administered to 102 Saudi Arabian University students for quantitative analyses and to an additional eighteen for qualitative analyses. All participants were assessed on the same L2 reading test in two modes on two separate occasions in a within-subject design. Statistical tests such as correlations, group comparisons, and item analyses were employed to investigate test-mode effect on test-takers’ performance whereas test-takers’ concurrent verbalizations were recorded when taking the reading test to investigate their cognitive processes. Strategies found in both modes were compared through their frequency of occurrence. In addition, a qualitative illustration of test-takers cognitive behavior was given to describe the processes when taking a lower-level L2 reading test. A mixed-method approach was adhered to when collecting data consisting of questionnaires think-aloud protocols, and post-experimental interviews as main data collection instruments. Results on test-takers’ performance showed that there was no significant difference between the two modes of testing on overall reading performance, however, item level analyses discovered significant differences on two of the test’s items. Further qualitative investigation into possible interface design related causes for these differences showed no identifiable relationship between test-takers’ performance and the computer-based testing mode. Results of the cognitive processes analyses showed significant differences in three out of the total number of cognitive processes employed by test-takers indicating that test-takers had more difficulties in processing text in the paper-based test than in the computer-based test. Both product and process analyses carried out further provided convincing supporting evidence for the cognitive validity, content validity, and context validity contributing to the construct validity of the computer-based test used in this study.
    • The impact of gendered content in printed health advertisements on attitudes and behavioural intentions: a mixed methods study in a social marketing campaign

      Baxter, Katherine (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
      The aim of this study is to contribute to the Marketing field examining whether the use of gendered content in leaflets promoting physical activity has an impact on attitudes and behavioural intentions of the UK general public. Drawing on elements of social role theory and homophily theory for its theoretical background, this study adopts an explanatory mixed methods approach for the data collection. Firstly, through a quantitative phase and quasi-experimental research design, 247 individuals from the general public were surveyed to examine the impact of the use of communal (i.e. feminine) and masculine (i.e. agentic) wording and endorser gender in a marketing campaign. This was followed up through qualitative semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 20 participants from the general public to gain further insights on the communicative elements of the leaflets and some insights into the participants’ existing behaviour and attitudes. The study indicates that gendered wording is effective in combination with certain gendered content when targeted at a specific sex. This work adds to the knowledge in the field of health marketing communications originally combining in an integrated framework of social role theory and homophily theory. Results from this study suggest that the theory is still relevant for males, as agentic communications and a male endorser showed a significant result for males. On the other hand, the results for females were more complex regarding social role theory and homophily theory, as neither communal nor agentic communications nor male or female endorser were significant, therefore other theories may be more useful for communications. The implications for knowledge and practice from this study provide a contribution as to which gendered combinations should and should not be used in the context of health promotion. This has not been considered previously, giving significant findings for future research directions and practical implementation in health communications.
    • The impact of HRM bundles and organisational commitment on managers turnover intentions

      Mahesar, Hakim Ali (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-04)
      Despite the significance of understanding the reasons under which talented individuals are more likely or less likely to quit, the nature of the relationship between Human Resource Management Practices (HRMPs) and turnover intentions has proven to be unclear. Prior studies suggest that talented employees’ turnover imposes significant negative impact on organisational performance, e.g. decrease in productivity, profitability, innovation, serviceability and morale of remaining employees. Likewise, a serious talented Frontline Managers (FLMs) turnover is observed in the private banks of Pakistan. The corresponding reason identified is their dissatisfaction with existing conventional HRMPs, which are typically bureaucratic in nature with no provision of training and development, and lack appreciation, seniority-based pay and promotions. Owing to these factors, FLMs are switching towards reputable government and multinational organisations. In fact, FLMs play an important role in the development and success of banks. To investigate this issue, the present study elaborates an examination of the use of synergistic HRMPs in an on-going effort to control the talented FLMs’ turnover intentions. Precisely, it examines the impact of two formative bundles, namely, skills-enhancing practices (SEPs, i.e. training and development) and motivation-enhancing practices (MEPs, i.e. pay, promotion, recognition and job security) on FLMs’ turnover intentions through organisational commitment. The research methodology employs a positivist philosophy, deductive approach and a quantitative method followed by a survey-based research design. A total of 500 questionnaires were distributed through random sampling technique; 344 questionnaires were finalised for analysis. PLS-SEM was used to test the research hypotheses. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the findings of this study indicate that both SEPs and MEPs demonstrate no significant direct impact on talented FLMs’ turnover intentions. However, organisational commitment (OC) has been found to fully mediate the relationships between both HRM bundles and FLMs’ turnover intentions. This research contributes to HRM literature particularly in the area of HRMPs—Turnover relationships. Furthermore, this study reveals that socio-economic relationships can be used to influence FLMs’ OC and turnover intentions. The findings further suggest that adoption of effective SEPs and MEPs in local banks enhance talented FLMs’ skills and motivation which eventually reduce their turnover intentions. Additionally, this study highlights the important and critical role of OC in HRMPs—turnover relationships, particularly in the Pakistani banking sector and further recommends management to review their HRMPs, which not only tend to reduce turnover but also lead to FLMs’ enhanced enthusiasm to serve.
    • The Impact of input task characteristics on performance on an integrated listening-Into-writing EAP assessment

      Westbrook, Carolyn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-10)
      Over the last fifty years, as the number of students studying in English-speaking countries or studying through the medium of English has grown exponentially, so has the market for testing the language skills of these students to ensure that they have the language and skills necessary for tertiary study in English. While traditional tests of academic English have been skills-based, more and more integrated tests are being designed to measure English for Academic Purposes (EAP) both for university entrance purposes and for in-sessional English courses due to the increased authenticity (Bachman and Palmer, 1996, p. 23) and interactiveness (p. 25) that such tests can offer. Furthermore, as more and more teaching moves to a ‘flipped’ or blended model and computerbased testing increases, there is a need to ascertain how to best provide input for both testing and teaching. Traditionally, listening comprehension has been audio-only and tests have consequently used audio only input. However, the broader range of possibilities offered by technological developments means that offering video-based input as an alternative to audio only is now perfectly feasible. This raises the question of how to ‘test for best’ (Weir, 2005, p. 54). A number of studies have investigated audio versus video or multimedia listening comprehension tests. Similarly, much research has been done into reading-into-writing or listening and reading-into-writing, yet very little has been done on integrated listening-into-writing. This study aimed to address that gap in the research by investigating the impact of audio versus video input on performance on an integrated EAP listening-into-writing test. In the study, participants were exposed to a lecture which was divided in half and presented in both audio and video formats in a counterbalanced measures design. The quantitative findings of this study revealed that there was a significant difference in scores between the audio first group, which was exposed to the audio input in the first half of the lecture, and the video first group, which was exposed to the audio input in the second half of the lecture, while there was only a small, non-significant difference between the two groups when exposed to the video input. A follow-up textual analysis broadly supported these findings. In line with findings from Cumming et al. (2005a), the quantitative analyses suggest that higher level learners tended to paraphrase more of the input while the lower-intermediate and intermediate learners generated both paraphrased and verbatim reproductions of the input. The very low levels learners appeared unable to make very much use of the input yet students from both groups reproduced large numbers of word-level matches from the PowerPoint slides when they had access to the video input. While there was no clear preference for one or other of the input formats, around 40 per cent of students expressed a preference for video while around 20 per cent said that they preferred audio only as the video was distracting. This supports the findings of Chen, Wang and Xu. (2014, p. 57). The research has highlighted several areas for future research but also has important implications for the construct of academic listening-into-writing.
    • The impact of pre-task planning on speaking test performance for English-medium university study

      O’Grady, Stefan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01)
      This study investigated the impact of different lengths of pre-task planning time on performance in a test of second language speaking ability for university admission. The research was conducted in a university in Turkey where the increasing popularity of English-medium instruction has heightened the need for valid assessment of prospective students’ English language ability. In the study, 47 Turkish speaking learners of English aged between 18 and 22, sat a test of English language speaking ability. The participants were divided into two groups according to their language proficiency estimated through a paper-based English placement test (an A1+/A2 level and B1 level group, Council of Europe, 2001). They each completed four monologue tasks: two picture-based narrative tasks and two description tasks. In a balanced design, each test taker was allowed a different length of planning time before responding to each of the four tasks. The four planning conditions were 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes, and ten minutes. The effect of variation in pre-task planning time was analysed using a set of measures of complexity, accuracy and fluency identified through the literature review and refined through piloting. In addition, 16 trained raters awarded scores to the test takers using an analytic rating scale and a context specific, binary choice rating scale designed specifically for the study. The results of the rater scores were analysed using multi-faceted Rasch measurement. The impact of pre-task planning on test scores was found to be influenced by four variables: the method of assessment, the task type that test takers completed, the length of planning time provided, and the test takers’ levels of proficiency in the second language. Firstly, contrary to common accounts in the literature, pre-task planning did not have an impact on the complexity, accuracy, and fluency of the spoken output. Rather, planning for longer periods of time increased the number of idea units test takers produced (an indication of the propositional completeness and complexity of the task content), and led to marginal increases in test scores. The increases in scores were larger on the picture-based narrative tasks than the two description tasks. The results also revealed a relationship between proficiency and pre-task planning whereby statistical significance was only reached for the increases in the scores of the lowest (CEFR ‘A’) level test takers. Regarding the amount of planning time, the five-minute planning condition led to the largest overall increases in scores. The research findings offer contributions to the study of pre-task planning and will be of particular interest to institutions seeking to assess the speaking ability of prospective students in English-medium educational environments.
    • Impact of racism and new managerialism on black female academics in English post-1992 universities

      Johnson, Janice V. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-08)
      This thesis focused on the impact of racism and new managerialism on Black female academics in English post-1992 universities. The study explored the extent to which the changing environment of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the ethos and practice of new managerialism had affected the professional lives of Black academic females and how the consequences of new managerialism were being experienced in their daily academic lives. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain qualitative data about the experiences of seventeen African and Caribbean participants in English post-1992 universities, mainly from business schools or health and social-sciences faculties. The critical race theory conceptual framework was used as an analytical and interpretive structure for understanding their experiences. The findings revealed that new managerialism changes contributed to increased levels of racism encountered by these Black female academics. Racism was endemic and embedded within their HEIs and demonstrated in overt and subtle ways, using micro-aggressions, micro-politics and varying agents, ensuring that racism remained rooted and positioned at different levels. Race was more prevalent in these women’s’ experiences than they had expected. The study discovered that these Black female academics perceived their progression and development as being negatively affected because of new managerialism practices and the inability of their respective HEIs to formulate and implement effective policies of equality and diversity. The HEIs’ neo-liberal policies of fairness, neutrality and meritocracy were experienced as rhetoric rather than practice and as not beneficial to those needing protection. The findings suggest that HEIs and human resource (HR) departments need more effective equality and diversity policies which incorporate a community diversity mind-set, influenced by the ethical codes of their professional HR body. There is also a need for HEI staff across all ethnic groups to be engaged in conversation, information-sharing and communication about racial issues so that Black female academic racialised work experiences can be improved.
    • The impact of small-scale digital audio broadcasting (DAB): emerging opportunities for the UK community radio sector

      Marsh, Jonathan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This research explores small-scale digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the United Kingdom by providing an historical contextualised framework with contemporary findings. The research begins with an overview of digital audio broadcasting, which is underpinned with evidence from a range of literature, which includes public facing reports, white papers and policy documentation relating to this area of research. This includes the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with relevant published articles, which feature within parts of this work. Reports and relevant documentation from non-government stakeholders also feature in this work. This includes the Office of Communications (Ofcom), research organisations such as the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR), along with broadcasters and academic articles. These combined sources provide historical examples and contemporary evidence of digital audio broadcasting in the United Kingdom. A significant part of this work draws upon primary sourced qualitative research. This consists of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and includes comprehensive discussions with a range of research analysts, broadcasters, radio organisations and multiplex operators. The interviews provide a detailed level of expert analysis and discussions, which offers a direct insight into digital audio broadcasting. The key research questions discuss; the setup and launch process of small-scale DAB; geographical coverage of small-scale DAB; cost of broadcasting on and operating a small-scale DAB multiplex; available multiplex capacity, including the significance of DAB+; long term licensing and roll out of small-scale DAB; and broadcast audio quality. The research also includes a primary sourced quantitative survey. The survey was formulated in direct response to the stakeholder interviews to address a gap in industry knowledge relating to broadcast audio quality, which was identified during the interview process. The survey data, results, analysis and discussions provide original contribution to knowledge as the research identifies and addresses a gap in knowledge regarding listeners’ opinions, perceptions and threshold limitations of analogue and digital broadcast audio qualities. These qualitative and quantitative research methods are combined and triangulated with the underpinning of relevant public facing literature. This research provides stakeholders with a detailed account of small-scale DAB, which draws upon relevant and original research data, results and analysis. It is anticipated that local and community broadcasters can make informed decisions based on areas of this research, to reduce their digital broadcasting costs, while simultaneously providing their audiences with reliable DAB services. This research is relevant to broadcasters intending to broadcast their output on a DAB multiplex, and for broadcasters who are already broadcasting their services on a multiplex but are looking to reduce their transmission costs.
    • Impact of the crises on the efficiency of the financial market: evidence from the SDM

      Fakhry, Bachar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-07)
      The efficient market hypothesis has been around since 1962, the theory based on a simple rule that states the price of any asset must fully reflect all available information. Yet there is empirical evidence suggesting that markets are too volatile to be efficient. In essence, this evidence seems to suggest that the reaction of the market participants to the information or events that is the crucial factor, rather than the actual information. This highlights the need to include the behavioural finance theory in the pricing of assets. Essentially, the research aims to analyse the efficiency of six key sovereign debt markets during a period of changing volatility including the recent global financial and sovereign debt crises. We analyse the markets in the pre-crisis period and during the financial and sovereign debt crises to determine the impact of the crises on the efficiency of these financial markets. We use two GARCH-based variance bound tests to test the null hypothesis of the market being too volatile to be efficient. Proposing a GJR-GARCH variant of the variance bound test to account for variation in the asymmetrical effect. This leads to an analysis of the changing behaviour of price volatility to identify what makes the market efficient or inefficient. In general, our EMH tests resulted in mixed results, hinting at the acceptance of the null hypothesis of the market being too volatile to be efficient. However, interestingly a number of 2017 observations under both models seem to be hinting at the rejection of the null hypothesis. Furthermore, our proposed GJR-GARCH variant of the variance bound test seems to be more likely to accept the EMH than the GARCH variant of the test. Key words: Efficient Market Hypothesis, Behavioural Finance Theory, Volatility Tests, GJR, GARCH, EGARCH-M, SWARCH, Sovereign Debt Market, Crise
    • The impact of the diversity of cultures upon the implementation of the international management code for the safe operation of ships and for pollution prevention

      Trafford, Sean Michael (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2006-06)
      Shipping is a fragmented, global industry operating in a culturally diverse environment. As a result of rising maritime accident rates and pollution incidents in the 1970s and 1980s, the International Maritime Organisation introduced two conventions that entered fully into force in 2002: the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention (ISM Code), and the 1995 revision of the 1978 Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Code). Introduction of the conventions served to focus the attention of the international maritime community on the need to raise industry-wide safety standards, but questions were raised about whether it was possible to develop a safety culture in a fragmented, global industry and what effects the diversity of cultures might have upon implementation of the ISM Code. This study explores those questions. Subsequent to a review of the literature, a model of the working of the ISM Code is developed and used to identify the constraints and pressures, particularly those that might be influenced by cultural values and attitudes, that impact upon the development and implementation of a Safety Management System in individual shipping organisations, which is the essence of the ISM Code. A comparative case study methodology is adopted for the empirical research and a number of investigative techniques are used to test the ISM Code model and obtain both qualitative and quantitative data to determine whether the impact of culturally influenced constraints and pressures would be best addressed by stricter enforcement of existing regulatory provisions or greater emphasis on education and training. From analysis of the data collected, the study concluded that: • Professional, vocational and safety training correctly utilised are effective in harmonising culturally influenced safety perspectives, thus improving safety performance; and • Culturally influenced constraints and pressures can be dealt with by the application of standard management techniques which, in a multi-cultural environment requires good cross-cultural management skills. The most common method of determining how effective a company has been in dealing with the various constraints and pressures affecting safety performance is to evaluate the efficacy of the organisation's Safety Management System by analysis of accident records, lost time incidents and hazardous occurrences (ACNSI, 1993). These data, reported under the provisions of Clause 9 of the ISM Code, are therefore analysed and compared with an industry sector benchmark. The study however, goes beyond such a purely quantitative approach and establishes the relative safety climate of the case study companies by means of perceptual audit of salient, safety-related factors. This qualitative technique draws together all the main research elements of the study and a Safety Climate Comparator is developed that provides a useful indicator of the relative status of those culturally influenced factors that ultimately affect a company's safety performance. By extension, the technique may be used to provide a Relative Safety Culture Maturity Model to measure the safety climate of other shipping companies relative to a benchmark standard.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The impact of triadic strategic alignment on organisational performance in Yemen

      Al-Surmi, Abdulrahman Mohamed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-09)
      To survive and succeed in the very competitive business environment, firms should have a clear business strategy supported by appropriate information technology (IT) and marketing strategies. Whilst many prior studies argue that strategic alignment between, for example, business strategy and IT strategy generally enhances organisational performance, strategic alignment including multiple factors has received little attention and strategic orientation of firms is rarely considered. This research, drawing on configurational theory and strategic management literature, aims to understand the performance impact of triadic strategic alignment between business, IT, and marketing strategies based on strategic orientation of firms. A number of hypotheses are proposed to examine the relationship between triadic strategic alignment and organisational performance through the use of structural equation modelling, and to identify generic types of triadic strategic alignment. The hypotheses are tested through MANOVA using data collected in a questionnaire survey of 242 managers in Yemen. The findings indicate that (1) there is an ideal triadic strategic alignment for prospectors and defenders; (2) triadic strategic alignment has a positive impact on organisational performance; and (3) triadic strategic alignment provides a better indication of the nature and performance impact of strategic alignment. Follow-up interviews were also conducted to support the arguments and to clarify how strategies should be aligned. This research also contributes to managers’ knowledge and understanding by suggesting how a firm should coherently align its strategies to improve organisational performance.
    • Impacts of inter-organisational knowledge transfer networks on different types of innovations in SMEs

      Poorkavoos, Meysam (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-05)
      This research aims to understand the contributions of inter-organisational knowledge transfer to innovation in SMEs from a social network perspective. The main objective is to identify the impact of the network characteristics on company’s innovation performance. Organisations are embedded in a network of relationships with other companies. They must make the best use of all available resources in order to survive and thrive in today’s competitive environment. However, most of the previous network studies focus on large organisations and studying network effects in the context of SMEs is not well explored. This study sheds light on the relationships between different network characteristics and two different types of innovation performance in High Tech SMEs. In this study inter-organisational knowledge transfer networks were investigated from ego-network perspective. Radical and incremental innovation was identified as specific types of innovation. More specifically this research studied the impact of the structural, relational and nodal properties of inter-organisational knowledge transfer network on radical and incremental innovation performance. In addition to network characteristics, internal capabilities of companies were also identified important. Pentathlon framework was used to capture firms’ innovation management capabilities. A survey instrument was used to collect data from a sample of UK Small to Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). A new innovation measurement instrument was developed to measure different types of innovation from companies’ and customers’ perspectives. The SMEs were chosen randomly from IT and Chemical industry. Inter-organisational relationships were mapped using social network techniques. Path analysis techniques including PLS were used to test the hypotheses of the study. In addition to the statistical method, Fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis was used to shed light on different combinations (various configurations) of factors that impact on radical and incremental innovation. This study has made theoretical contributions by identifying research gaps through review and synthesis of literature in innovation and inter-organisational relationships and social network theories. Moreover, a new framework was developed based on the concepts identified in social network and innovation literature. The integration of theories and concepts regarding inter-organisational relationships, innovation and social networks with a view of better understanding of the impact of network characteristics on specific types of innovation is another contribution of this study. This research shows how different network properties can help companies to achieve ambidextrousness, which is vital for organisations’ competitive advantages and long term survival. Moreover, this study reveals that the internal capabilities (innovation management practices) of a firm play a significant role in enabling the company to benefit from its network resources. It shows how different configuration of the internal capabilities and network resources can lead to a better radical/incremental innovation performance. Findings from this research can help managers to adapt their network resources according to their strategies and the level of the innovation that they want to achieve.
    • The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with particular reference to Auckland

      Davis, Adam (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004-03)
      The object of this thesis is to look at the neglected area of the social interaction between Imperial regiments and society in a colony. The chosen colony is New Zealand, looking with particular reference at its original capital of Auckland between 1840 and 1870. This period encompasses the Maori or New Zealand Wars. However, it is not the intention to look at these campaigns, but to examine how the regiments of the Imperial garrison interacted on a day-to-day basis with colonial society in both peace and war. Chapter One establishes the existing literature with regard to the impact of a military presence on colonial societies using the relatively few examples of work done on Canada, South Africa, India and Australia, as well as the limited information available on the impact of garrisons in Britain itself. Indeed, comparisons will also be made with the role of the United States army in westwards frontier expansion, on which some useful studies exist. Chapter Two is also general in nature in the sense that it discusses the reasons for the introduction of Imperial regiments into New Zealand and those factors contributing to their continued presence until 1870, as well as the fluctuations in military strength. Moving to the particular, Chapter Three illustrates how Auckland became the Imperial Military Headquarters in New Zealand and the development of its military infrastructure as the town itself expanded. The two principal establishments became Fort Britomart and the Albert Barracks. It will also be shown that Governor FitzRoy was responsible for the construction of the Albert Barracks, not Sir George Grey as is generally supposed. The intention of Chapter Four is to examine in detail the economic impact of the garrison on Auckland, primarily by means of investigating how the army was supplied. In particular, local newspapers are utilised as a medium through which to trace how civilians tendered for Commissariat contracts. Chapter Five discusses the health of the Imperial regiments posted to New Zealand to establish whether service there implied the same kind of potential death sentence as that in some other colonies. Chapter Six then examines both the discipline of Imperial regiments in Auckland and wider issues of social interaction since, in other colonies, the extent of indiscipline could radically affect civil-military relations. In terms ofthe wider issues, there is examination of such aspects of the relationship between soldiers and civilians as sport, entertainment, local politics, and civic ceremony. Chapter Seven will be then offer conclusions on the inter-relationship and inter-dependence between soldiers and civilians in Auckland.
    • Improving the performance of Six Sigma : a case study of the Six Sigma process at Ford Motor Company

      Thompson, Steven James (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2007)
      This thesis concerns the question, "Why is the performance of Six Sigma within The Ford Motor Company below that experienced in other companies, and what can be done to improve it?" The aim of the thesis was to make recommendations that would improve the performance of Six Sigma within the Ford Motor Company. Results from the literature were categorised according to headings found in the European Foundation for Quality Model (EFQM): strategy, people, process and leadership. The key factors identified from the literature review as being significant for a successful Six Sigma deployment were that projects were aligned to the strategy of the organisation, individuals were clear on their role and had appropriate skills, processes were well defined and understood and leadership team was committed to Six Sigma. The research started with a review of the results from two employee surveys. The first was given to Black Belts and asked questions concerning Six Sigma. The second was given to all the employees in the organisation. The survey data failed to identify the cause of lower than expected results, and so the investigation followed with a series of twelve interviews. When these also failed to identify the factor or factors responsible for deployment performance, the project database was reviewed. The Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control steps (DMAIC) were then analysed using Gardner’s Model of Process Maturity. The thesis concluded that the main influence driving Six Sigma performance was the low process maturity of the project selection and scoping processes and this gave rise to variable project performance. The thesis then presents material to improve project performance including a process map, a process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) of the project selection and scoping process, a control plan that ensures that the projects are on track and a macro using Excel and Minitab that works within the Ford Motor Company system to provide automatic evaluation of projects.
    • An in vitro model for assessment of skeletal muscle adaptation following exercise related physiological cues

      Player, Darren James (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-10)
      The aim of this Thesis was to further characterise and utilise an in vitro skeletal muscle (SkM) model, to investigate its potential use in further understanding the cellular and molecular adaptations to exercise in vivo. Candidate genes and proteins have been identified using in vivo, ex vivo and targeted in vitro experiments, however the complete picture of these molecular mechanisms are far from understood. Furthermore, the extent to which mechanical signals contribute to the intra-cellular mechanisms associated with exercise is also underinvesitgated. To this end, developing an in vitro model of SkM that can recapitulate in vivo SkM and respond to mechanical stimulation in a similar way to exercise will provide a means to begin to delineate the complex cellular and molecular regulation of SkM. The initial investigation (Chapter 3) characterised an optimal seeding density and culture period of C2C12 myoblasts within a 3 ml collagen gel. These data provided support for the use of collagen constructs seeded at 4 x 106 cells/ml, with no statistical differences observed in peak force, rate of force development and relative force compared to other seeding densities examined (table 3-2, all p > 0.05). However the use of 4 x 106 cells/ml supports previous data in a larger construct volume model, whilst the highest cell density possible in the system increases cell-cell contact required for fusion. Immunohistochemical and gene expression analyses provided evidence for the fusion of single seeded myoblasts into multinucleate myotubes, demonstrating an in vivo-like architecture. Chapter 4 presented data towards the characterisation and use of two distinct cyclical stretch regimens with respect to the acute biochemical and transcriptional responses. Data revealed increases in peak media lactate and reductions in peak media glucose, following cyclical stetch compared to control (p = 0.000 and p = 0.001 respectively, Fig. 4-2). Changes in mtDNA (Fig. 4-5) and associated mRNA transcriptional signals (Fig. 4-7) were mode dependent.