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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a new master’s programme for promoting energy access and energy efficiency in Southern Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

A transdisciplinary approach called “participatory integrated assessment of energy systems” (PARTICIPIA) was used for the development of the curriculum. This approach is based on the two emerging fields of “multi-scale integrated assessment” and “science for governance”, which bring innovative concepts and methods.

Findings

The application of the PARTICIPIA methodology to three case studies reveals that the proposed transdisciplinary approach could support energy and development policies in the region. The implementation of the PARTICIPIA curriculum in three higher education institutions reveals its ability to respond to the needs of specific contexts and its connection with existing higher education programmes.

Practical implications

Considering energy issues from a transdisciplinary approach in higher education is absolutely critical because such a holistic view cannot be achieved through engineering curricula. Deliberate and greater efforts should be made to integrate methods from “multi-scale integrated assessment” and “science for governance” in higher education curricula to train a new breed of modern-day energy planners in charge of coming up with solutions that are shared by all relevant stakeholders.

Originality/value

This paper presents an innovative higher education curriculum in terms of the attention given to energy access and energy efficiency that affect the southern Africa region and the nature of the methodology adopted to face these issues.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Alan C. Brent

Evaluations of environmental performances are of increasing importance for environmental management systems. In the automotive sector of South Africa, suppliers of components lack…

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Abstract

Purpose

Evaluations of environmental performances are of increasing importance for environmental management systems. In the automotive sector of South Africa, suppliers of components lack the ability to provide customers in the value chain with the necessary information to assess and compare environmental performances. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in South Africa have systematically commenced to obtain limited process information from first‐tier suppliers. However, the information is not an accurate reflection of the true environmental burdens associated with the supplied components. Based on the available process information, this paper introduces a performance evaluation methodology that is applicable for South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

The LCA methodology, as stipulated by ISO 14040, has been applied to obtain quantified environmental performance resource impact indicators (EPRIIs) associated with limited process parameters in the South African context. Three first‐tier suppliers of an OEM are used as a case study to demonstrate the application of the indicator methodology.

Findings

The EPRII procedure considers the spatially differentiated ambient environmental state of the South African natural environment for normalisation factors of typical LCIA categories. The procedure further incorporates costs in order to compare supplied components (and companies) equally.

Originality/value

The EPRII procedure provides the means for OEMs to obtain a first approximate of environmental concerns in the supply chain, based on three basic process parameters. Thereby, tiers can be prioritised to determine where assistance is required to improve environmental performances.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 June 2007

Alan C. Brent and Carin Labuschagne

The purpose of this paper is to introduce methods that have been developed to consider social sustainability aspects in the initial phases of projects in industry, i.e. in the…

3809

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce methods that have been developed to consider social sustainability aspects in the initial phases of projects in industry, i.e. in the design stage of technological systems, whereby a proactive approach in industry can be ensured. The inclusion of social aspects in both the sustainability debate and practice has been marginal compared with the focus on the other two dimensions of sustainable development, i.e. economic and environmental performances, especially from a business perspective. The tools that have focused on social business sustainability aspects have mainly addressed business sustainable development reporting, operational conditions, and product social life cycle assessments.

Design/methodology/approach

The first method builds on a framework of social sustainability criteria that has been introduced for the South African process industry. A Social Impact Indicator (SII) calculation procedure has been developed based on a previously introduced Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) calculation procedure for environmental Resource Impact Indicators (RIIs). The second method applies questionnaires and checklists following more traditional risk approaches.

Findings

Information availability and standardisation of social criteria are problematic for quantitative approaches at present. It is therefore proposed that social sustainability should be incorporated into project and technology management methodologies in phases, commencing with the questionnaires and checklists. In future, the proposed indicator method can be implemented when information is more readily available.

Originality/value

The questionnaires and checklists provide practical means for project and technology developers to assess and communicate potential social risk associated with technological systems to decision‐makers.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Charles A. Schuman and Alan C. Brent

Asset management is often one of the last options to maximise cost savings in a competitive global economy due to its intrinsic complexity, especially in many developing…

11367

Abstract

Purpose

Asset management is often one of the last options to maximise cost savings in a competitive global economy due to its intrinsic complexity, especially in many developing countries. Asset management in the process industry must consider the commissioning, operational and end‐of‐life phases of physical assets when commencing a design and implementation project. However, current asset management models show inefficiencies in terms of addressing life cycle costs comprehensively, as well as other aspects of sustainable development. An asset life cycle management (ALCM) model is subsequently proposed for assets in the process industry, which integrates the concepts of generic project management frameworks and systems engineering with operational reliability in order to address these inefficiencies.

Design/methodology/approach

Experiences within a large petrochemical company in South Africa are used as a case study to demonstrate and discuss the different components of the proposed ALCM model.

Findings

Operational reliability and systems engineering are the means to achieve optimum value from physical assets over a facility's lifetime. Thereby, activities are identified that should be completed during each stage of the project life cycle. The application of performance measurements for the operation and support stages is proposed to influence decision making in the process industry.

Originality/value

Specific issues pertaining to the ALCM model are highlighted to ensure optimal practicality and incorporation of the model with other management practices in the process industry.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

John van Breda, Josephine Musango and Alan Brent

This paper aims to improve the understanding of individual transdisciplinary PhD research in a developing country context, focusing on three individual PhD case studies in South…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to improve the understanding of individual transdisciplinary PhD research in a developing country context, focusing on three individual PhD case studies in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple-case method was used, and three completed transdisciplinary PhD research efforts undertaken at the Stellenbosch University were selected. They were coordinated through the TsamaHub, an inter-faculty platform at the University which organises educational modules for transdisciplinary research. Using actual research experiences and reflections of the three individual PhDs, the paper evaluates their work in terms of ontological, epistemological, methodological and methodical/methods aspects.

Findings

The central challenge to individual PhD researchers is engagement with non-academic actors to enable joint problem formulation, analysis and transformation. To overcome this, the paper suggests that developing individual epistemic relationships to build “transdisciplinary epistemic communities” should be considered for inclusion as an intentional aspect of transdisciplinary research design.

Research limitations/implications

“Transdisciplinary epistemic communities” is still a concept in its infancy and needs more work before it may be theoretically and practically useful.

Practical implications

Continuously guiding the individual transdisciplinary research process in a reflexive, recursive, transparent and equal manner is absolutely critical because transdisciplinary research cannot be done successfully if dominated by overly methods-driven approaches.

Originality/value

The discourse around transdisciplinary methodology has major implications for the design of individual PhD research. The paper provides recommendations to enhance the theory and practice of individual transdisciplinary PhD research.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 July 2013

Lorren Kirsty Haywood, Douglas Hartley Trotter, Kristy Faccer and Alan Colin Brent

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the diversity of the practice of corporate sustainability, in terms of its drivers, where it features in the organisation structure…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the diversity of the practice of corporate sustainability, in terms of its drivers, where it features in the organisation structure, and how it is communicated. The authors suggest that what may be failing the global objective of sustainability is its diversification in meaning, purpose and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was gathered through a semi‐structured interview process with 11 medium‐to‐large South African organisations. The organisations represented the financial services sector, the mining and industrial sector, and the food and beverage retail sector. The issues questioned included: perspectives on the sustainability concept, the drivers of sustainability actions, internal and external sustainability communications, profiles, and performance and strategies. The questions involved self‐ranking, but also provided for open‐ended and explanatory responses.

Findings

The results emphasise that corporate sustainability remains focussed on how organisations manage reputation risk, generate cost savings, and ensure long‐term profitability and competitive advantage. The results imply that corporate sustainability is merely a business agenda to protect organisation profits and economic growth in a manner that is seen to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Originality/value

The results lead to the conclusion that the diversification of corporate sustainability purposes and practices solidifies the self‐interest justification upon which it is based and its largely market‐oriented terms and conditions, leaving enormous potential for unsustainability.

Details

World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 9 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5961

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Leo McCann

– This paper aims to explore the culture of working life in British financial services multinationals in the period leading up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the culture of working life in British financial services multinationals in the period leading up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Design/methodology/approach

Informed by labour process theory, the paper is based on a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with technicians and junior managers in British insurance and banking MNCs.

Findings

The data demonstrate widespread employee disaffection with a new culture of corporate life that has emerged in the last two decades. Employees faced work intensification and were highly critical of what they saw as detached, ruthless, and often incompetent top leadership. Senior management is described as operating in an “echo chamber”, insulated from the “realities” of the workplace.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues that the unpleasant work culture experienced by employees at middle and lower levels closely mirrors the broader excesses and failings of banks and insurance firms during the recent financial crisis. Excessive risk-taking, short-termism, and inattention to detail are widely given as causes of the crisis. This paper argues that senior leadership failings are also manifest in short-sighted, undignified, and ethically unsound treatment of staff, leading to severe problems with staff morale.

Originality/value

The paper provides detailed qualitative data on the realities of working life in financial services before the recent financial crisis, and suggests ways for labour process theory to consider how restructuring is not only challenging for employees but can also be debilitating for the organisation itself.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Reality Television: The Television Phenomenon That Changed the World
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-021-9

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 14 July 2006

Abstract

Details

The Hidden History of 9-11-2001
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-408-9

Article
Publication date: 12 July 2018

Brent Smith, Cindy B. Rippé and Alan J. Dubinsky

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social loneliness, emotional loneliness and social isolation relate to Indian consumers’ enjoyment of social interaction with an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social loneliness, emotional loneliness and social isolation relate to Indian consumers’ enjoyment of social interaction with an in-store salesperson.

Design/methodology/approach

Over 300 Indian respondents are surveyed about personal disposition, shopping experiences and other factors. The research model and hypotheses are evaluated utilizing partial least squares structural equation modeling.

Findings

As posited, Indian consumers dealing with loneliness and social isolation tend to enjoy in-store shopping experiences involving personal interactions with salespersons. Further, salespersons’ adaptive selling relates positively to consumers’ predisposition to comply with salesperson input and three outcomes (i.e. trust in salesperson, purchase intention and retail patronage).

Originality/value

This study fills a void in current marketing and retailing literature, providing one of the first known empirical investigations of consumers’ experiences with loneliness and social isolation. Overall, the study shows that store-based retailers within culturally collectivistic emerging markets can capitalize on their unique ability to attract and retain shoppers through in-store salesperson interactions.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 36 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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