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Article

Sheelagh Wickham, Malcolm Brady, Sarah Ingle, Caroline McMullan, Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl and Ray Walshe

Ideally, quality should be, and is, an integral element of education, yet capturing and articulating quality is not simple. Programme quality reviews in third-level…

Abstract

Purpose

Ideally, quality should be, and is, an integral element of education, yet capturing and articulating quality is not simple. Programme quality reviews in third-level education can demonstrate quality and identify areas for improvement, offering many potential benefits. However, details on the process of quality programme review are limited in the literature. This study aims to report on the introduction of a standardised programme review process in one university.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a standardised template, the annual programme review (APR) process captured student voice, external examiner reports, statistical data and action/s since the previous review. Following completion of programme reviews across the university, the APR process was itself evaluated using questionnaires and focus groups.

Findings

Findings showed that the programme chairs understood the rationale for the review, welcomed the standardised format and felt the information could inform future programme planning. However, in the focus group, issues arose about the timing, ownership and possible alternate use of the data collected in the course of the review.

Research limitations/implications

This case study demonstrates the experience of APR in a single third-level institution, therefore, limiting generalisability.

Practical implications

APR offers a comprehensive record of the programme that can be carried out with efficacy and efficiency. The study illustrates one institution’s experience, and this may assist others in using similar quality evaluation tools. Using APR allows quality to be measured, articulated and improved.

Social implications

Using APR allows quality, or its lack to be to be measured, articulated and improved in the delivery of education at a third-level institution.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the experience of the introduction of an APR process in one higher education institute. Programme review is an important and essential part of academia in the 21st century. At third level, quality assurance is, or should be, a central part of academic programmes and delivery. The review of the first implementation has provided valuable information that will inform future programme review processes. Academic programmes grow, evolve and need to be reviewed regularly. It is hoped that the information reported here will aid others developing academic review procedures.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article

Eva Perea and Malcolm Brady

This paper examines the engagement of business practitioners with academic business research. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether there is a gap between…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the engagement of business practitioners with academic business research. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether there is a gap between academic research and business people, and, if so, how to bridge this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Over 150 senior business practitioners were interviewed, in order to capture their views on the usefulness of academic research to them in their roles as practicing managers. Survey questions covered both their current access and reading of business-related publications and what the ideal academic business journal should be, in terms of access and contents.

Findings

Academic journals are not very well known among business professionals. If these professionals could choose, they would like academic journals to be written by experienced business people, to contain business cases and to be accessible on line. Existing academic business journal “repositories,” such as Google Scholar, are not mentioned in the survey results.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that potential solutions to bridge the gap between academic journals and business practitioners should not be complicated to implement, and would greatly help bring these two communities closer, with mutually enriching results.

Originality/value

This paper takes a very pragmatic view of the gap between academic journals and business practitioners, and seeks to assess this gap in terms of how it can be bridged on an everyday basis, rather than take a theoretical approach. It begs for the definition of actionable next steps.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article

John Parnell and Malcolm Brady

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of internal capabilities and environmental turbulence on market (e.g. cost leadership and differentiation) and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of internal capabilities and environmental turbulence on market (e.g. cost leadership and differentiation) and nonmarket (e.g. political and social) strategies (NMS), and considers how these strategies impact financial and non-financial performance in firms in the United Kingdom.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was administered online to 215 practicing managers in the UK. Measures for competitive strategy (i.e. cost leadership and differentiation), NMS, strategic capabilities, market turbulence and firm performance were adopted from or based on previous work. Hypotheses were tested via SmartPLS.

Findings

Findings underscore the impact of market turbulence across all market and nonmarket strategy dimensions. Multiple links between capabilities and strategies were identified. Both cost leadership and differentiation were significantly linked to non-financial performance, but only differentiation was significantly linked to financial performance. An increased emphasis on social NMS was linked to higher financial performance, but not non-financial performance. Political NMS was linked to neither financial nor non-financial performance.

Research limitations/implications

The sample included managers in multiple industries. Self-typing scales were utilized to measure market turbulence, emphasis on capabilities, strategic emphasis and firm performance.

Practical implications

Emphasis on social NMS can promote financial performance, but political NMS does not appear to drive either financial or non-financial performance.

Originality/value

This paper provides empirical support for a UK-based model linking market turbulence, strategic capabilities, market and nonmarket strategies, and both social and firm performance. It supports NMS as a key performance driver, but with caveats.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

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Article

Alessandro Laureani, Malcolm Brady and Jiju Antony

– The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the implementation of Lean Six Sigma techniques through a series of student projects carried out in a hospital setting.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the implementation of Lean Six Sigma techniques through a series of student projects carried out in a hospital setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The five projects were carried out by teams of Masters' students taking a module on operations and quality management. The students were all staff members of the hospital. The study analysed each of the five projects under a number of headings: setting and context, approach, key success factors, benefits and lessons learnt. The projects were then examined to identify patterns among the projects.

Findings

All student projects adopted a single foundation methodology as the basis for the project, but supported this with additional techniques from the Lean Six Sigma stable. The primary methodology was Lean in the case of three projects, Six Sigma in the case of one project and mistake proofing in the case of the final project. The most commonly used supporting techniques were process mapping, seven wastes, 5S and logic tree/root cause which were each used in two of the five projects. Other techniques used were control charts, checklists and theory of constraints, which were each used by one project team. Support from top management and regular communication with stakeholders were identified as key factors for success by three of the five project teams. All of the projects, although implemented during a time period of less than three months, and by relatively novice users of Lean Six Sigma techniques, yielded practical benefit to the hospital.

Research limitations/implications

This paper examines a number of Lean Six Sigma projects carried out in an Irish hospital. Students were tasked to examine and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a clinical or/and an administrative process within the hospital. Arguably, a single module on a Master's program in healthcare leadership and organisational change is insufficient to bring about large-scale process change in a single hospital in particular, or to the Irish healthcare sector in general, but it is a start, and as these projects demonstrate it provides a set of tools, techniques and effective methods for instigating process change.

Practical implications

Lean Six Sigma offer a variety of methodologies and techniques for use on a process improvement project. It is vital that the project team select for use those techniques which are most appropriate to the particular context of the project. Adoption of an overall methodology (philosophy) supported by specific techniques, proved to be an effective approach.

Originality/value

This paper provides useful information for practitioners who are introducing the Lean Six Sigma approach into a hospital setting. The study demonstrates that relatively novice users of Lean Six Sigma can provide value to the organisation in a relatively short period of time. The paper also demonstrates that Lean Six Sigma can be used and provide benefit in a variety of settings within a hospital.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

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Article

Anna V. John and Malcolm P. Brady

The purpose of this paper is threefold: to validate the consumer ethnocentrism tendencies (CET) scale in Mozambique and to describe the profile of CET in that country; to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is threefold: to validate the consumer ethnocentrism tendencies (CET) scale in Mozambique and to describe the profile of CET in that country; to describe the effects of consumer ethnocentrism through the moderator of product type; and to discuss implications of Mozambican consumer ethnocentrism and its effects and make recommendations for practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire‐based survey was carried out to collect data from 448 consumers in Southern Mozambique. The data were analyzed by using exploratory factor analyses, confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modelling.

Findings

The CET scale has satisfactory psychometric qualities and can be used as a two‐dimensional construct in Mozambique. Mozambican consumers were found to be moderately ethnocentric. Their ethnocentric tendencies underpinned negative attitudes toward South African consumables. The study demonstrates the moderating role of product type and concludes that importers of South African agricultural consumables into Mozambique are more susceptible to the effects of consumer ethnocentrism than are importers of processed goods.

Research limitations/implications

The results cannot be generalized to countries and products which were not included into this study. The conclusions about the CET effects are valid only for the southern part of the country where the survey took place.

Practical implications

The authors suggest that South African marketing managers should pay closer attention to the competitiveness of agricultural consumables in Mozambique. By contrast, processed consumables from South Africa represent a lower risk. As the employment issue plays a central role in Mozambican consumer ethnocentric tendencies, the national policy makers might incorporate it into the messages of buy‐local campaigns. In addition, the buy local campaigns should position growing national industry as a future large employer in the country. The national suppliers of agricultural consumables are at less risk. On the contrary, national producers of processed consumables are at a disadvantage because ethnocentricity does not result in strong support of these products. Advertising messages with patriotic appeals may be ineffective. Thus, instead of country of origin, other extrinsic cues (e.g. brand, package and price) may be used to enhance competitiveness on the national market.

Social implications

Mozambican consumers are moderately ethnocentric. Consumer ethnocentricity and its effects in Mozambique are shaped by pragmatic motives originating from socio‐economic pressures such as the under‐development of the national production sector and high unemployment in the country.

Originality/value

The paper will be of interest to practitioners, e.g. foreign companies, exporters and Mozambican policy makers and producers. The findings suggest that foreign companies should not be overly cautious about selling their products in Mozambique because, being moderately ethnocentric, Mozambican consumers are open to purchasing foreign imports where there is good reason, for example, when locally made products are unavailable.

Details

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-0705

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Article

Malcolm Brady and John Loonam

The purpose of this paper is to compare fundamental concepts from the grounded theory approach to social science research and concepts from entity‐relationship…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare fundamental concepts from the grounded theory approach to social science research and concepts from entity‐relationship diagramming, a technique used to model data from the field of systems analysis, and propose that entity‐relationship diagramming can be a useful tool for grounded theory researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares and contrasts concepts from the two different fields, demonstrating the construction of an entity‐relationship diagram from data from an existing grounded theory research project, and the correspondence between the data model constructs and the grounded theory constructs.

Findings

A strong correspondence was found between these two sets of concepts and suggests that the entity‐relationship diagramming technique may be a useful addition to the social scientist's toolkit when carrying out research using the grounded theory approach.

Originality/value

The paper bridges two distinct fields – information systems and grounded theory – and proposes a novel way for qualitative researchers to analyse and depict data.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

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Article

Malcolm Brady

The merit of improvisation over command and control as an organizational approach is the subject of much debate in the management and emergency literatures. The purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

The merit of improvisation over command and control as an organizational approach is the subject of much debate in the management and emergency literatures. The purpose of this paper is to examine tactics employed by the two leading protagonists at the Battle of Stalingrad – Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus on the German side and General Vasily Chuikov on the side of Russia – and seek to identify the reasons for Chuikov's victory over Paulus and draw lessons from this for practicing managers.

Design/methodology/approach

The research project examined over a dozen publicly available texts on the battle, in the light of the crisis management and strategy literatures.

Findings

The paper shows how Chuikov improvised to meet the demands of the situation, relaxed the command and control structure of the Russian 62nd Army and developed a collective mind among Russian troops and that this triple approach played a significant role in his victory over Paulus.

Originality/value

The case provides support for the view that improvisation is important in crisis response and can be applied within a hierarchical command and control structure. The paper puts forward a framework for managers to respond to crisis based on two continua: mode of response (improvised or planned) and means of control (via the hierarchy or via rules embedded in a collective mind).

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article

Peter McEvoy, Malcolm Brady and Ronaldo Munck

International development practice has had as its dominant paradigm the rational-analytic model of project planning, management and evaluation. This is reflected in the…

Abstract

Purpose

International development practice has had as its dominant paradigm the rational-analytic model of project planning, management and evaluation. This is reflected in the widespread adoption by donor agencies of results-based management (RBM), side by side with conventionally used tools for monitoring and evaluation (including logical framework analysis (“logframe”), logic model and results frameworks). Donor agencies rely upon such tools to generate the evidence base for measuring “success” across the spectrum of their work, even though projects differ enormously in their nature, scope and time-span. Process-led capacity development projects and input-led infrastructural or straightforward service delivery projects require very different yardsticks of performance monitoring and appraisal. Drawing on insights from the complex adaptive systems (CAS) literature, the purpose of this paper is to explore how projects focused on capacity development necessitate a more eclectic approach, including – but not restricted to – RBM methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the insights of CAS theory, and with particular reference to projects which have capacity development as their prime focus, this paper explores a broadening of conventional project management practices.

Findings

The paper posits an integrative approach to managing international development projects focused on capacity development – one which would recognise the values of instrumental utility and goal-setting associated with the application of the tools of RBM, while situating that within a more open, system focused and holistic approach to projects and their outcomes, placing emphasis on context, adaptability and learning.

Research limitations/implications

The research enquiry presented is discursive rather than empirical, and builds on established theory and constructs of three distinct conceptual fields: first, the RBM approach to project and programme implementation; second, the “complexity” strand of organisational management literature; and third, the capacity development strand of international development discourse.

Originality/value

The paper intersects disciplinary boundaries between project management, organisational studies and international development theory and practice.

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Article

Malcolm Brady and Aidan Walsh

The paper examines the process by which the strategic direction of an organization is set. The paper asks if strategic direction is defined and set at the top of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper examines the process by which the strategic direction of an organization is set. The paper asks if strategic direction is defined and set at the top of the organization and then trickled down or is it set by members making their own decisions based on well‐known rules and the organization's strategic direction is the aggregation of these decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

Individual in‐depth semi‐structured interviews were carried out with members of a professional services organization.

Findings

The research suggests that an agent‐based approach may more closely represent the process of strategic direction setting for certain kinds of firm than does the traditional text‐book trickle down approach.

Research limitations/implications

The research was carried out on a legal services firm. Future extensions of the research could be to other kinds of large professional services firms, for example accountancy practices.

Practical implications

While this research was carried out on a professional services firm the findings could be appropriate to other kinds of organization in the knowledge economy where individual agents carried out non‐routine tasks or tasks that require substantial individual judgment, for example: universities or research centers.

Originality/value

The usual text book model of strategy formulation and implementation suggests that strategy is defined by top management with objectives cascaded down through the organization. This research suggests an alternative approach where individual agents in the organization make decisions according to given rules and that the strategic direction of the organization is determined by the aggregation of these decisions. This suggests a new role for top managers as rule‐makers rather than objective‐setters.

Details

Business Strategy Series, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-5637

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Article

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Nonmarket strategies (NMSs) are an integral part of the bundle of strategies implemented by firms during times of market turbulence. While NMSs have not typically been used to their fullest, there is significant evidence now showing their potential benefits.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives, strategists, and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

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