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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2021

Mark Francis, Ron Fisher and Malin Song

To consider how quality should be conceptualized to improve understanding for researchers and practitioners, some researchers have discussed quality in terms of an essence…

Abstract

Purpose

To consider how quality should be conceptualized to improve understanding for researchers and practitioners, some researchers have discussed quality in terms of an essence or necessary condition. Others have regarded quality as individual and experiential, based on differences in actors’ conceptions of quality. This paper aims to resolve the tension caused by these competing views and propose an appropriate method for future research in the area of quality.

Design/methodology/approach

In many studies, researchers have attempted to understand quality in terms of necessary conditions or through a dualistic ontology. At the same time, an increasing number of researchers have emphasized its experiential nature while discussing quality in conjunction with meeting customers’ expectations. This study investigates how quality can be understood using a conceptual framework based on family resemblances.

Findings

There is no necessary condition or essence by which quality may be conceptualized or defined. This finding resolves the tension that has arisen from the simultaneous search for a common feature and the assertion that quality is experientially created by individuals. The research also highlights that the nature of quality may differ between people, time and place, or some aspects of it may be the same. Regarding quality in terms of family resemblances accommodates actors’ different conceptions of quality. Phenomenography is proposed as an appropriate research approach with its focus on the qualitatively different ways in which actors make sense of phenomena in their lifeworld.

Research limitations/implications

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

Practical implications

The research provides important insights for researchers and practitioners through clearer conceptions of quality. These include the ability to plan and deliver business outcomes that are more closely aligned with customers’ expectations. Understanding the conceptions of quality, as experienced and determined through family resemblances, has clear implications for researchers and practitioners.

Originality/value

Understanding actors’ conceptions of quality through the lens of family resemblances resolves long-standing research issues. Using phenomenography as method is innovative, as it is an emerging research approach in the business domain.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

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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

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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…

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

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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…

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

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Book part
Publication date: 24 September 2014

Marissa L. Shuffler, Ramón Rico and Eduardo Salas

As work demands have become increasingly complex, organizations and agencies are progressively turning toward larger systems comprised of teams, or multiteam systems…

Abstract

Purpose

As work demands have become increasingly complex, organizations and agencies are progressively turning toward larger systems comprised of teams, or multiteam systems (MTSs), to accomplish multifaceted tasks in challenging environments. Today, many organizations require these complex systems in order to achieve the dynamic goals that are required of our ever-changing world. Subsequently, MTSs have become a growing area of interest in organizational research, primarily due to their increasing prominence in organizational settings.

Design

In this introductory chapter, our goal is to highlight a selection of existing research regarding MTSs that serves to answer the question, “What do we know about MTSs?” while also setting up the question that serves as a recurrent theme throughout this volume, “Where does our research need to go in order to better serve MTSs in practice?”

Findings

While there has been a great advancement in the area of MTSs in recent years, there is still much to be explored in terms of the challenges and opportunities that MTSs afford in practice.

Originality/value

It is the goal of this chapter that we will set the stage for readers interested in identifying the current trends, dynamics, and issues in MTSs in the real world for the purposes of both expanding our research and theory on MTSs as well as further building the foundation for improving their development, implementation, and effectiveness “in the wild.”

Details

Pushing the Boundaries: Multiteam Systems in Research and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-313-1

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Book part
Publication date: 24 September 2014

Brooke B. Allison and Marissa L. Shuffler

Multiteam systems (MTSs) comprise much of the financial corporate landscape. However, little is known about these MTSs regarding formation, goal setting, daily operation…

Abstract

Purpose

Multiteam systems (MTSs) comprise much of the financial corporate landscape. However, little is known about these MTSs regarding formation, goal setting, daily operation, and maintenance. In order to learn more about the ways in which these MTSs might operate and the tasks they may be charged with, the authors interviewed professionals from the financial industry.

Methodology

The current chapter presents a case study analysis based on information gathered from these interviews and proposes directions for future research efforts.

Findings

The information gathered suggests that there is much opportunity for MTS research in the corporate sector, particularly in the financial services industry. Information from the case study also suggests that individual differences can hinder group process and organizational change.

Originality/value

This chapter contributes to the literature on MTSs by discussing multiteam situations as they relate to executive management, higher-level leadership, and organizational change in a particular financial services company.

Details

Pushing the Boundaries: Multiteam Systems in Research and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-313-1

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1987

David Sands

“The Human Face of Retailing” was one of the major themes of the 12th Annual European Conference of the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), held at Monte…

Abstract

“The Human Face of Retailing” was one of the major themes of the 12th Annual European Conference of the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), held at Monte Carlo in March. There was the usual impressive spread of speakers from major companies in continental Europe, some of which we summarise in our special report on the following pages. Peter Spriddell of Marks & Spencer referred obliquely to his company's out‐of‐town initiative with Tesco by drawing attention to the shopper's need for a better environment, which means good car parking, and pointed out that “both out of town and city centre retailing have their place” — an assertion that only a couple of years ago would have been more than a little startling from a Marks & Spencer spokesperson. Francis Rigotti, from another highly prestigious company, Migros, talked about his company's search for “produits vivants”, by which he means articles which decorate the lifestyle and affirm the personalities of the “me‐generation”. We are celebrating the demise of the mass market, he implied; quality has supplanted quantity in modern life. And what of the retail pattern in Germany? Professor Dr Bernd Falk described the importance of the role of the shopping centre, whilst at the same time explaining the difficulties of the department store. And we offer our congratulations to the designers of the Kö‐Gallerie in Dusseldorf, which won this year's ICSC design award in the category of large centres, and which we feature on our front cover. Described as a “beautifully developed dream”, it was conceived, designed, developed and leased by Walter Brune of Dusseldorf. RDM was represented at the conference by David Sands.

Details

Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2009

Zhenreenah Muhxinga, Corrine Douglas, David Francis, Mark Laville, Sidney Millin, Juliana Pamfield, Peter Smith and Raymond Smith

A group of African and Caribbean people decided to tell mental health workers and others in east London about their struggles to achieve mental health. They wanted to show…

Abstract

A group of African and Caribbean people decided to tell mental health workers and others in east London about their struggles to achieve mental health. They wanted to show that black people with mental health problems are individuals, with different histories and different talents. They wanted to show that it is possible for African and Caribbean service users to rebuild their lives after a mental health crisis and even after years in and out of hospital. In this article, Zhenreenah Muhxinga describes how they produced a book of stories to challenge the familiar assumption that recovery is not an option for black people.

Details

A Life in the Day, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-6282

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2008

Mark Francis, David Simons and Michael Bourlakis

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to discuss the results from a UK government‐funded applied research programme on value chain analysis that examined the beef…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to discuss the results from a UK government‐funded applied research programme on value chain analysis that examined the beef foodservice sector. The demands and dynamics of this sector differ markedly from those of the supermarket, which is the dominant channel for beef produce and which forms the focus of the existing literature. This is a challenging environment for the application of collaborative supply chain improvement principles because of its high level of regulatory control, power relationships and low profit margins. Design/methodology/approach – This is an applied research project that was case study based and employed the value chain analysis method. Empirical work was conducted over an 11‐month period and included a one‐week whole‐team study tour to Argentina. Informants encompassed UK and Argentine livestock producers, an Argentine meat processor, a UK meat import operation, a UK meat processor, a UK foodservice distribution centre and two foodservice restaurants. Findings – The paper concentrates on the key findings pertinent to the upstream members of the above chain. It highlights specific supply chain waste elimination opportunities at both producer and processor level. It also establishes valuable learning points for the UK beef industry as a whole. Originality/value – This study represents the first holistic and non‐partisan study of its type within the UK beef industry. This paper adds to the limited body of knowledge on supply chain management within the foodservice sector. It also provides the first explanation and analysis of its kind on supply chain operations within the Argentine beef industry. It quantifies the magnitude and nature of the cost advantage afforded the Argentine producer over its best practice counterpart. Finally, it presents a number of reflections upon the implications of this study for the concept of best practice and also the Lean paradigm.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Andrew Thomas, Jiju Antony, Mark Francis and Ron Fisher

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and understand the differences that exist between educational institutions in the methods and practices employed in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and understand the differences that exist between educational institutions in the methods and practices employed in the development and implementation of Lean projects. Whilst many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are now starting their journey towards effectively implementing Lean, Further Education Institutions (FEIs) have treaded this well worn path many years previously and so the aim of this paper is to find what key features and issues FEIs have put in place to assist them in implementing Lean projects and whether HEIs can learn from such institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies two research methods in an attempt to understand the differences between the institutions and hence understand the key features that can be used to better implement Lean initiatives. First, through a series of focus groups, the authors employ a low-level form of Group Consensus Theory in an attempt to understand the organisational dynamics surrounding the adoption of Lean. This is used to understand whether Lean improvement teams within FEIs implement such initiatives with the autonomy and support from senior management. Second, the same group members, detailed interviews were held in order to identify further and more specific information around the tools and techniques employed in the implementation of Lean initiatives in both HEI and FEIs.

Findings

The study found that although FEIs had much more experience in the design, development and implementation of Lean initiatives, the organisational infrastructure and dynamics towards driving Lean in FEIs was less well embedded in to the culture of the respective institutions than first thought and, that Lean had been developed and driven initially by a consultancy-based approach and around a tool-driven mentality. It was seen that whilst HEIs were generally slower in getting off the mark, there seemed to be more enthusiasm and willingness to drive such initiatives forward and in a more systematic and holistic manner even though some of the projects were in their very early stages of implementation.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst this work provides key information on how Lean initiatives are implemented across different institution types, the work has only looked at a very small sample of two teaching focused HEI and two FEIs. The work will need to be extended much more widely to incorporate a larger set of HEIs (both research and teaching focused) in order to provide a more complete map of Lean development in HEIs.

Practical implications

The aim of the paper is to provide Lean project leaders in HEIs with some additional key insights towards the cultural and organisation dynamics that exist in educational institutions other than HEIs in order to assist them in developing further and more comprehensive Lean programmes.

Originality/value

This paper is the first of its kind to study the organisational and cultural dynamics that exist between differing educational institutions in their approaches towards the implementation of Lean and business improvement programmes. The key features highlighted in this work raise important issues regarding the need and importance of developing team dynamics around project implementation.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 32 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

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