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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 June 2016

Andrew Thomas, Casey Piquette and David McMaster

Whilst English remains the language of global commerce, the role and outcomes of English language provision in English-medium higher education institutions in the Arab…

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Abstract

Whilst English remains the language of global commerce, the role and outcomes of English language provision in English-medium higher education institutions in the Arab Gulf countries remains central to any discussion on graduate profile and the employability of graduates in the global marketplace. This paper describes the findings of research into English workplace communication skills amongst a sample of Bahrain employers and students at Bahrain Polytechnic. Using a mixed methods approach, data was gathered through telephone interviews, student workplace simulations and employer focus groups. Findings show that generic employability skills, channelled through English as a second or additional language, are highly valued by Bahrain’s employers. In particular, students need to market themselves as confident, knowledgeable individuals during the recruitment process and after recruitment, continuing to operate successfully in the sociolinguistic culture of their company. Consequently, it is concluded that English language training in higher education programmes needs to move from purely linguistic and degree-related content areas to a broader remit of English for communication purposes that covers both specialised discourse fields and broader generic employability skills and competencies.

Details

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2077-5504

Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Andrew Thomas, Jiju Antony, Claire Haven-Tang, Mark Francis and Ron Fisher

The purpose of this paper is to propose the development and adoption of a Lean Six Sigma Framework (LSSF) that attempts to create a more balanced and integrated approach…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose the development and adoption of a Lean Six Sigma Framework (LSSF) that attempts to create a more balanced and integrated approach between Lean and Six Sigma and one that is capable of achieving improved efficacy of curriculum and programme development in a higher education environment. The implementation of the LSSF is new to the higher education sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the standard DMAIC cycle as the key driver in the implementation process, most in-depth Lean Six Sigma (LSS) case studies have focussed on manufacturing and engineering-based problems and solutions. This case study offers a detailed analysis of the design and implementation of an integrated LSSF within higher education and focusses primarily on the curriculum design and delivery of a new undergraduate engineering programme in a subject university. As such, this offers a unique perspective of LSS implementation in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) which drives systems improvements in to the heart of the teaching and learning process.

Findings

The design, development and subsequent application of the LSSF enabled the curriculum development team to comprehensively apply LSS in to a subject institution. The Shainin Key Variables Search Technique (KVST) more specifically enabled the team to prioritise the key variables by way of order of importance and, this allowed the team to apply the most appropriate tools and techniques at the key points within the LSSF in order to obtain maximum performance.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst this work provides key information on how LSS initiatives are implemented across different institution types, the work has only focussed at a very small sample of HEIs and the case study only being applied to one institution. The work will need to be extended much more widely to incorporate a larger set of HEIs (both research and teaching focussed) in order to provide a more complete map of LSS development in HEIs.

Practical implications

The aim of the paper is to provide LSS project leaders in HEIs with a coherent and balanced LSSF in an attempt to assist them in implementing comprehensive LSS programmes thus maximising the improvements in efficiency and operational performance of departments within HEIs.

Originality/value

This paper is the first of its kind to study the application of Shainin’s KVST in the implementation of LSS programmes in HEIs. The key features highlighted in this work raise important issues regarding the need and importance of developing a balanced LSSF for HEI project implementation.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 66 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 20 February 2018

Terry Daugherty and Andrew R. Thomas

471

Abstract

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 52 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Article
Publication date: 28 June 2022

Andrew Thomas Hall, Serdar Durdyev, Kerim Koc, Omer Ekmekcioglu and Laura Tupenaite

Building information modeling (BIM) is a prominent concept to digitalize data collection and analysis processes. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for a…

Abstract

Purpose

Building information modeling (BIM) is a prominent concept to digitalize data collection and analysis processes. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for a considerable percentage of the works performed in the construction industry. The adoption rate of BIM by SMEs is still, however, not at the desired level in the New Zealand construction industry. This study aims to evaluate barriers to BIM implementation for SMEs in the New Zealand construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted four-step methodology to evaluate barriers to BIM adoption for SMEs. First, a comprehensive literature review, followed by a focus group discussion was performed to identify barriers to BIM adoption. Then, analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was used to assess identified barriers. Finally, experts’ agreements (both internal and external) were ensured by consistency analysis and Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (Kendall’s W) tests.

Findings

The findings indicate that (1) interoperability between software platforms, (2) lack of government mandate on BIM usage at project level, (3) high cost of acquiring the software and licensing required to use BIM and (4) lack of client demand for adopting BIM were the most significant barriers in terms of technological, governmental, resource and cultural categories, respectively. Further investigation of the expert evaluation showed strong consistencies (each expert separately) and agreements (among experts) in each AHP matrix.

Practical implications

Primary focus should be training of local market (particularly SMEs) professionals as the shortage in qualified professionals makes the country-wide adoption challenging. The publicity in the local market can help SMEs understand how BIM is leveraged for further improvements in project performance.

Originality/value

Overall, this research not only provides a roadmap for the widespread adoption of BIM within SMEs in New Zealand through analysis of the barriers encountered but also highlights the power that policymakers hold over the mass adoption of BIM within SMEs.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 February 2021

Mark Francis, Andrew Thomas and Ron Fisher

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and evaluate the methodological structure of the lean literature, so that its characteristics and influence among academics and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and evaluate the methodological structure of the lean literature, so that its characteristics and influence among academics and practitioners might be better understood. The authors define “methodological structure” to be comprising six categorical components: publication category, degree of methodological disclosure, research strategies and data collection instruments (DCIs), type of data collected and analysed and type of research informants.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is a systematic bibliometric analysis of the lean literature. It has a two-stage research design. The first stage involves the identification of the top 50 most highly cited publications on “Lean”, with the resultant reference details being entered into a focal population set (FPS) spread sheet. The second stage involves coding and adding the six component fields of the methodological structure for each of the FPS entries. Both citation analysis (CA) and publication counting are then used to analyse patterns in these six components of methodological structure.

Findings

The top 50 publications in the FPS represent over 52,700 citations. All are either journal papers or books, but books are the most influential. Based upon this FPS sample, the lean literature is found to be both largely atheoretical in nature and also methodologically weak. Over half of the FPS publications are viewpoint-type publications and 46% have no methodological disclosure. The lean literature is predominantly qualitative in nature. Where disclosed, the most common research strategy is the case study and the most common DCI is the interview. High- and mid-level managers are the most frequently encountered research informants, while shop floor workers are infrequently used.

Originality/value

This paper starts with the most extensive known systematic review of systematic reviews of the lean literature; the result of which is the characterisation of a number of gaps in this body of knowledge. One of these gaps is the lack of any previous CA. The paper then proceeds to address this gap by providing the first CA within the lean literature. This is also the most comprehensive known CA within the field of operations and supply chain management more generally. As a consequence of this analysis, previously unknown patterns and insights into the methodological structure of the lean literature are revealed.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Kate Worsfold, Ron Fisher, Ruth McPhail, Mark Francis and Andrew Thomas

This research investigates employee and guest satisfaction, guests’ perceptions of value and their intention to return. Considered are hotel workers’ job satisfaction, how…

5213

Abstract

Purpose

This research investigates employee and guest satisfaction, guests’ perceptions of value and their intention to return. Considered are hotel workers’ job satisfaction, how job satisfaction impacts guests’ satisfaction with the service experience and with the physical attributes of the hotel and how these variables affect perceived value and intention to return.

Design/methodology/approach

Structural equation modeling is used to analyze data from a large global hotel chain.

Findings

Guest satisfaction with service and the physical attributes of the hotel differentially impact guest outcomes of intention to return and perceptions of value. Key findings are guest satisfaction with the physical attributes of a hotel is significantly more strongly linked to guests’ intention to return than is satisfaction with service received. Staff job satisfaction is significantly linked to guests being more satisfied with the service experience and their return intentions. Of all the factors directly contributing to guests’ return intentions, guest satisfaction with the physical attributes of the hotel was largest in impact. In contrast guest satisfaction with service is linked to guests’ perceptions of value, whereas satisfaction with the physical aspects is not significant. Guests’ perceptions of value do not impact intention to return.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted within one global hotel chain, which due to its cross-sectional nature may possibly be a limitation. However, its single organizational nature does not diminish the importance of the findings.

Practical implications

Hotel managers need to consider the importance of the physical attributes of properties in what has been largely a services-dominated debate. What guests value may not lead to repeat business.

Originality/value

Providing excellent customer service may not be the main motivation for return business. Also, holistic measures of guest satisfaction may not accurately measure what guests value. Perceived value is not a significant predictor of intention to return.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 28 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Ron Fisher, Mark Francis, Andrew Thomas, Kevin Burgess and Katherine Mutter

The purpose of this paper is to consider value as individual and experiential, based on the relationships between conceptions of value, rather than attempting to identify…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider value as individual and experiential, based on the relationships between conceptions of value, rather than attempting to identify a common factor. The authors use the term “family” to represent the relationships between conceptions of value and provide a philosophical basis that underpins this. The authors also propose an appropriate method for researching value as family resemblances.

Design/methodology/approach

In this conceptual paper, the authors propose a new approach to understanding the nature of value in terms of family resemblances. In many marketing studies, value is described as being phenomenologically based, with an increasing number also emphasizing its experiential nature. Attempts to conceptualize value phenomenologically lead to tension between the search for an essence and the qualitatively different ways in which value is experienced by individuals. The authors propose phenomenography as a research approach that accommodates value based on differences rather than essences.

Findings

Recognizing that there is no necessary condition or essence by which value may be defined resolves the tension that has arisen from the simultaneous search for a common feature and the assertion that value is experientially created by individuals. The research also highlights that the nature of value may differ between people, time and place or some aspects of it may be the same. Regarding value in terms of family resemblances accommodates actors’ different conceptions of value. Phenomenography is an appropriate approach to operationalize conceptions of value in terms of family membership.

Research limitations/implications

Understanding value as a family, and using phenomenography as method, provides methodological clarity to a long-standing research issue. Using the approaches outlined in this study will enable empirical studies of the nature of value in any context to be conducted soundly and relatively quickly. It will also provide a more inclusive and holistic set of values based on the experiences of individuals.

Practical implications

The research provides important insights for practitioners through clearer conceptions of value. These include the ability to plan and deliver business outcomes that are more closely aligned with customer values. Understanding the conceptions of value experienced by actors in marketing, as determined through family resemblances, has clear implications for researchers and practitioners.

Originality/value

Understanding actors’ conceptions of value through the lens of family resemblances resolves a long-standing research issue. Using phenomenography as method is an approach seldom used in marketing that addresses the need for increased use of qualitative research in marketing.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 May 2014

Mark Hutchinson

The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction between a liminal rural Australian city (Lithgow) and the development of higher education options across the city's…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction between a liminal rural Australian city (Lithgow) and the development of higher education options across the city's history. The paper proposes a nuanced interaction between national, social, religious, political, regional and local forces to explain why an industrial city such as Lithgow, with obvious educational strengths, would be overlooked while others (such as Wollongong and Bathurst) were not.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a longitudinal study of educational institutions, placed in their historical contexts, in order to demonstrate the fluctuation of educational vision with the rise and fall of socio-economic contributors to the town's fortunes.

Findings

The paper finds that the city's formation and dependence on war-related industries created boom-bust cycles which negatively impacted on its entrepreneurial, managerial and working class elites, and so on its ability to bring cultural and political influence to bear in the formation of local higher education options, across a period in which higher education becomes an increasingly federal responsibility.

Practical implications

The paper suggests policy ramifications for the support of higher education options in the city.

Social implications

The paper supports the interpretation that it is not merely that education itself promotes social mobility, but that what type of education is important, along with an eye to how education contributes to the overall well-being and cross-class profile of the city of Lithgow.

Originality/value

This paper fills a gap in historical knowledge about Lithgow's educational institutions, the study of which heretofore has tended to be located with either labor historical or heritage approaches. This paper takes a socio-cultural and longitudinal/holistic approach which brings together a variety of approaches previously not treated.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 43 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 3 January 2015

Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Paul Kaplan and Jamie Longazel

There has been a tremendous decline in the use of the death penalty in the United States. Recent research using county-level data shows that a small minority of locales in…

Abstract

There has been a tremendous decline in the use of the death penalty in the United States. Recent research using county-level data shows that a small minority of locales in the country account for death sentences and even fewer for executions. Drawing on theoretical work that seeks to account for why these locales continue to use capital punishment, we provide in this chapter a thick description of Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the most active death penalty locales in the contemporary United States. In doing so, we demonstrate how capital punishment operates in a field of violently defended racial boundaries. Our chapter shows the roles of various local actors across time in fortifying such racial boundaries through historical white terrorism and more recent reinforcement of zones of racial exclusion that are embodied especially in communicated fears of “illegal immigrant gangs.” We contend that the case of Maricopa County points to the importance of attending to racist localisms as a catalyst for the continued implementation of the death penalty in the United States.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-568-6

Abstract

Details

Population Change, Labor Markets and Sustainable Growth: Towards a New Economic Paradigm
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-44453-051-6

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