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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Colm Fearon, Antonio Sama and Wim van Vuuren

The purpose of this paper is to offer strategic advice and identify ways in which third sector organizations can work with United Kingdom (UK) universities for promoting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer strategic advice and identify ways in which third sector organizations can work with United Kingdom (UK) universities for promoting business education and enterprise skills development.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors’ strategic advice is based on analysis of qualitative interviews, focus groups, interactive seminars/workshops, and working with third sector support agencies.

Findings

Advice for third sector organizations includes the following points: build your efficacy – share the burden, do not attempt everything on your own; partner, or own the business skills yourself – you decide upon your strategy; develop your “social mission” and be “business oriented”; develop applied student projects – everyone wins; think about student volunteers; and local universities are there for you – check and see.

Originality/value

This is the first article of Development and Learning in Organization (DLO) to consider relationships between UK’s third sector organizations and regional universities. The authors deal with important education, skills, and business development issues for the third sector. There are new opportunities in 2016 (and beyond) for universities to build closer relationships with their third sector communities.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Chris Senior, Colm Fearon, Heather Mclaughlin and Saranzaya Manalsuren

The purpose of this paper is to understand the nature of staff/employee (i.e. learning and teaching, curriculum support and administrative staff) perceptions, anxieties…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the nature of staff/employee (i.e. learning and teaching, curriculum support and administrative staff) perceptions, anxieties and worries about early merger change in the UK further education (FE) sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 128 out of 562 employees to examine perceptions of psychological contract (post-merger announcement) on an FE college in England. Paired t-tests were used to analyse quantitative data. Additionally, a content analysis of open-ended questions was incorporated as part of a combined methods survey evaluation approach for discussion and triangulation purposes.

Findings

Quantitative results from t-tests showed there had been a decrease in the perception of fulfilled obligations in nine of the ten areas of the psychological contract. Qualitative results indicated that communications, job security and uncertainty were common negative outcomes post-merger announcement. Implications for education managers from the case study include: a need for improved organizational communication; developing trust and mentorship for greater employee support, as well as; promoting further employee training and new opportunities for teamwork.

Research limitations/implications

Psychological contract theories for evaluating organizational change are useful given the recent interest in sharing public services and institutional mergers in the UK. This research demonstrates the benefits of using psychological contract, as well as how to apply such an evaluation for understanding staff concerns.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates a usable (psychological contract) survey evaluation approach for studying the impact of early merger change on staff in the FE, or higher education sectors in the UK (or elsewhere).

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 28 April 2020

Jennifer Elizabeth Marshall, Colm Fearon, Marianne Highwood and Katy Warden

The purpose of this paper is to explore the key issues surrounding teacher/staff disability disclosures in the UK's further education (FE) sector.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the key issues surrounding teacher/staff disability disclosures in the UK's further education (FE) sector.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted in a medium-sized FE college (case study) setting in the South East of England. To compare the experiences, views and perceptions of leaders, managers and teachers, interviews were carried out with leaders and managers who are accountable for ensuring disability legislation is adhered to, and with teachers who are responsible for complying with equality and disability legislation. The 15 interviewees who volunteered to take part in this research represent the various layers of the organisational structure and different academic departments in the college.

Findings

Two major themes discussed include: the desire for teaching staff to “come out” and make a disability disclosure and the perception of disability as a “deficit”. A number of staff that disclosed their hidden disabilities stated they would not do so again. To avoid the negative side effects, developing a “culture of disability disclosure” and providing long-term employer support are required.

Research limitations/implications

This is an exploratory qualitative case study that highlights some of the key issues from a teacher/staff perspective. It is not meant to be generalisable research, but the ideas therein should help to develop a wider (empirical) research agenda.

Originality/value

There is an abundance of critical and sociological research concerning disability disclosure in general; there are also a number of scholarly studies that focus on disability issues from the student perspective. However, this is the first scholarly study that explores the key issues involving FE staff.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2013

Sarah Indaco-Patters, Colm Fearon, Connie Nolan and Katy Warden

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the key contextual, personal development and research issues facing micro-ecopreneurs in the UK food industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the key contextual, personal development and research issues facing micro-ecopreneurs in the UK food industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Key literatures and definitions are examined concerning the role of an ecopreneur, as well as the nature of ecopreneurship. Contextual ideas are drawn from arguments concerning the triple bottom line, and economic versus social and ethical trade-offs, as well as a closer examination of the UK food industry and future trends.

Findings

The UK eco-enterprise market has been growing and dynamic. However, micro-ecopreneurs in the UK food sector are now faced with numerous trade-offs and challenges, not least in terms of educating consumers, overcoming difficult market situations, and gaining access to venture capital. In the absence of widespread data, there have been calls for further research to clarify fundamental conceptual questions, such as: What are the long-term sustainability trends for ecopreneurship in the UK food industry? How will ecopreneurs deliver high-quality produce alongside demands for cheaper and more processed foods, commonly found in many UK supermarkets? What motivations, personal development skills and managerial qualities are required from future micro-ecopreneurs for long-term success in a highly competitive sector?

Research limitations/implications

The authors direct future researcher attention to the key managerial and personal development issues facing many small business ecopreneurs.

Originality/value

This commentary is intended to explore broad issues and ask pertinent questions, in light of the harsh economic realities in 2013, experienced by many smaller UK ecopreneurs.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 45 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Lucy Bowden, Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin and Stephen Jackson

The purpose of this paper is to explore a possible strategic role for computing ethics and investigate how they might align with corporate values and higher education (HE…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a possible strategic role for computing ethics and investigate how they might align with corporate values and higher education (HE) strategy making.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal study of a university in the South East of England is used to examine qualitative findings and develop a formative discussion. The findings, discussion and conceptual framework draw upon documents analysis and 14 semi-structured interviews with senior informants involved in strategy making and implementation within a HE case study setting.

Findings

Findings are discussed in terms of: first, dealing with everyday computing ethical issues facing HE, such as common information technology (IT) threats and data protection; second, responding to ethical opportunities, dilemmas and challenges associated with the adoption of new information and communication technology in areas such as eLearning; and third, harnessing aligned IT opportunities, computing ethics and organizational values for long-term strategy development.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is important for strategic decision makers as they consider the joined-up nature of computing ethics and organizational strategy. Explicating hidden ethical opportunity and threat dimensions of eLearning, computing networks and organizational design should be an area for future research. The authors are limited by the use of a single case study, and generalizability of findings.

Originality/value

The contribution of the paper is a macro-analytical and conceptual approach that explores tentative links between computing ethics, corporate values and strategy making, while supporting future empirical studies between traditionally disparate research domains.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2011

Colm Fearon, Simon Starr and Heather McLaughlin

The aim of this paper is to explore student views of blended learning in a university setting based on the use of audio lectures, seminars, discussion boards and wikis.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore student views of blended learning in a university setting based on the use of audio lectures, seminars, discussion boards and wikis.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 14 seminar (focus) groups consisting of approximately 20 students each, over a two year period, provided qualitative views of how students believed blended learning would be useful for their degree and future careers.

Findings

Students found the blended learning approach very flexible and preferable in many cases to traditional face‐to‐face learning. Key themes in terms of emerging benefit themes included: flexibility and support; motivation and sharing ideas; class interaction and explanation of ideas; better than pure eLearning; communicating and teamwork; developing project leadership skills.

Research implications/limitations

This exploratory study of university students is important because they are aware of the value of blended learning and transferable skills for the workplace. The research is limited because it is qualitative, yet it still provides a useful insight into the benefits and value of blended learning from the student perspective.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of qualitative research on the benefits of blended learning and this paper examines the value of the overall approach for university students and the workplace.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 43 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2012

Judith Crayford, Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin and Wim van Vuuren

This article aims to discuss the changing role of entrepreneurial education for promoting personal development, learning and employability skills.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to discuss the changing role of entrepreneurial education for promoting personal development, learning and employability skills.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors review key literature and policy from the EU, in conjunction with recent UK initiatives and organisations that are urging greater action to develop the skills and entrepreneurial mind‐set necessary for the graduates of tomorrow.

Findings

There is a sense of urgency and change in mainstream higher education (HE) to promote and embed greater entrepreneurial and workplace skills among graduates. Students are expected to demonstrate greater employability skills and signs of the entrepreneurial mind‐set that will help organisations innovate and succeed.

Originality/value

The article clearly makes the link between the need for personal development, employability skills and attributes of an entrepreneurial mind‐set among graduates for the post 2011 workplace.

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2013

Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin and Lynn Morris

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of multi-level forms of efficacy and organisational interactions necessary for promoting effective work engagement.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of multi-level forms of efficacy and organisational interactions necessary for promoting effective work engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

Work engagement is explored from a multi-level efficacy perspective (self, collective and organisational). Based on the ideas of Bandura, workplace interactions are investigated through the theoretical lens of social cognitive theory (SCT).

Findings

The ability to conceptualise engagement from individual, group and organisational perspectives, helps researchers and HR practitioners appreciate the complexities involved. The paper also highlights a need for developing new organisational interactions that promote engagement, as opposed to reinforcing stale managerial policies, or one-sided strategies for short term productivity gains. Organisational interactions should respond to job demands at both individual and collective levels. The paper also suggests that new interactions and stronger communication helps promote collective and organisational efficacy.

Research limitations/implications

This is a theoretical discussion piece that attempts to set the scene and examine broad issues, and thus there is no measurement or empirical analysis attempted. Additional work is required to operationalise constructs further, as part of a case study protocol for future in-depth empirical analysis.

Originality/value

This thought-piece paper is significant for managers in retail and researchers alike, when developing organisational interactions from a multi-level efficacy perspective. The conceptual contribution of the paper is a fresh macro-analytical perspective concerning efficacy and work engagement. Some ideas are also presented for future research.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 February 2012

Colm Fearon, Simon Starr and Heather McLaughlin

The purpose of this paper is to create a conceptual analysis of key strategic issues for developing blended learning within a university or higher education (HE) setting.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to create a conceptual analysis of key strategic issues for developing blended learning within a university or higher education (HE) setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies key issues based on focus group analysis with students and reflections from staff. A conceptual grid framework was used to develop insight into blended learning and to enable a pragmatic approach for strategy making.

Findings

A discussion of key issues for strategic analysis is presented. Traditional lectures are not as popular as more interactive seminars. “Pure” e‐learning in terms of computer‐based training is not as desirable as a blended learning approach because face‐to‐face interaction between students and staff is not present. Blended learning is useful as a supplementary resource for students and a way of improving collaboration and group work. It takes time to develop a blended learning strategy and care must be taken to balance stakeholder needs as well as preserve the wider HE student experience.

Practical implications

Findings are not generalizable because the approach adopted is qualitative and conceptual in nature, yet useful insights are provided into key issues regarding blended learning within a HE setting. The conceptual analysis approach used in this paper is useful for practitioners in the organizational development of blended learning.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of useful qualitative research regarding the analysis of blended learning for strategy makers and this paper examines some key issues for analysis and organizational development.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2013

Rachel Davey, Colm Fearon and Heather McLaughlin

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of organizational grief in understanding employee reactions to redundancy, managing change and personal development in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of organizational grief in understanding employee reactions to redundancy, managing change and personal development in the UK public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

In today's UK public sector, learning and managing the realities of redundancy and organizational change is explored using a case study of a civil service/ public sector agency. The authors use the lens of the Kübler‐Ross grief cycle to examine employee reactions to organizational change.

Findings

There is no easy way of managing this type of change, and many employees were at different stages of coming to terms with organizational closure and eventual redundancy. Some employees were reacting to change progressively and accepting their new organizational reality, whilst others had not yet reached acceptance. Nevertheless, an important finding has been that a number of staff did appear to be moving on, readjusting and thinking about their future career aspirations and wider life options.

Originality/value

The article uses a unique narrative style to examine common employee emotions and behaviours associated with organizational change in a redundancy and closure situation. It offers unique insight for senior managers in public sector administrations, in both the UK and elsewhere.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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