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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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 July 2020

Jie Wu and Ron Fisher

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122

Abstract

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 121 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Trish Gibson, Donald Kerr and Ron Fisher

There is an acknowledged need to advance the supply chain management (SCM) learning agenda, with an emphasis on integration. This paper discuss an Australian…

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1330

Abstract

Purpose

There is an acknowledged need to advance the supply chain management (SCM) learning agenda, with an emphasis on integration. This paper discuss an Australian university–industry collaboration aimed at accelerating SCM learning and offers some insight into models for building a forward-looking SCM.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is an exploratory case study of the industry–university collaboration, using grounded theory procedures. The primary data involved 25 interviews with key participants from the university and industry partners, and from the first cohort of students in the undergraduate program developed within the collaboration.

Findings

A theoretical framework for accelerating SCM learning was developed from the case study data; it comprises six constructs that influence, at strategic and operational levels, the acceleration of SCM learning. Four cross-construct concepts from the framework that form the cornerstones of accelerated learning are discussed in some detail.

Research limitations/implications

The framework facilitates an examination of successes and shortfalls in the case study collaboration and generates a deeper understanding of critical elements for progressing the SCM learning agenda, and expanding SCM education. As with all qualitative research, the results may not be generalisable; testing the relevance and usefulness of the framework with the field will be an important next step.

Practical implications

As the framework identifies conditions, characteristics and capacities of organisations and individuals that support the acceleration of SCM learning, it can provide assistance in designing future university–industry collaborations for advancing SCM learning.

Originality/value

The framework identifies critical success factors for alliances and partnerships aimed at accelerating learning in an emerging body of knowledge such as SCM.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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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…

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4806

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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Article
Publication date: 29 September 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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2021

Hongmei Dickinson, Ron Fisher and Hammad Akbar

This study aims to investigate how investment promotion agencies (IPAs) attract funds effectively from emerging to established countries.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how investment promotion agencies (IPAs) attract funds effectively from emerging to established countries.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative action research (AR) study with data collected from focus groups and semi-structured interviews, observation and journaling. Comparative case studies are also presented to provide an external perspective to the researchers’ internal action researcher positions.

Findings

The research identifies four main factors that impact IPAs’ effectiveness in seeking a strategic asset in the UK from a developing country, China. The factors are policy advocacy, targeting industry, regional strategy and cultural adaption, which provide positive and significant influences on IPAs’ effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

Little research has been published about the roles of IPAs in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) from a developing to a developed country. The study uses an AR approach and case studies, which have not previously been used to investigate IPAs’ performance. The study extends the sparse extant research and provides insights into what influences the performance of IPAs, thus contributing to knowledge and practice.

Practical implications

The findings provide insights into the ways in which IPAs influence FDI flows. The research contributes to discipline knowledge and practice by identifying factors influencing funding in a non-traditional manner, that is from a developing to a developed country.

Originality/value

Little research has been published about the roles of IPAs in attracting FDI from a developing to a developed country. The study uses an AR approach and case study, which have not previously been used to investigate IPAs’ performance. The study extends the sparse extant research and provides insights into what influences the performance of IPAs, thus contributing to knowledge and practice.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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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

Keywords

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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…

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1360

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: 1 August 1999

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92

Abstract

Details

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol. 71 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0002-2667

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 44 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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