University of Gloucestershire Research Repository

    An assessment of TQM implementation, and the influence of organisational culture on TQM implementation in Libyan banks

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    TQM has become a competitive strategy for organisations and has been widely implemented throughout the world. Over the previous three decades, there has been a dramatic growth globally in the implementation of total quality management (TQM) in many organisations with the aim of improving the quality of their products and services, and meeting customers‘ needs. Although the literature in the field relates the success of many organisations in the implementation of TQM, it also refers to the fact that there have been some failures or shortcomings and barriers to the implementation of TQM. These failures or barriers to adoption and implementation are due not only to a lack of top management commitment or weak understanding of total quality management, but also encompass organisational cultural factors. The purpose of this research is to assess the level of TQM implementation, and to explore the influence of organisational culture on TQM implementation in Libyan banks. In addition, this research identifies the main obstacles that affect the implementation of TQM in Libyan banks. This study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to achieve the objectives of the research. A questionnaire was designed to determining the level of TQM implementation in Libyan banks, and to identify the causal relationships between factors, in order to explore the influence of organisational culture on TQM implementation. Complimentary semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers and supervisors to gain a greater understanding of some additional issues with regard to TQM practice and organisational culture. The results of data analysis show that the level of TQM implementation in Libyan banks was low. The competing value framework (CVF) as proposed and tested by Denison and Spreitzer (1991) was used to explore the influence of organisational culture types on TQM implementation factors in Libyan banks. The findings showed that group culture and developmental culture had a positive influence on all TQM implementation factors. In addition, hierarchical culture and rational culture did not have any influence on TQM implementation factors in this context. Moreover, the study revealed that some of the obstacles that affected the achievement of a high level of TQM implementation in Libyan banks were: a lack of top management commitment; a lack of training programmes relating to quality management; and a weak focus on customer expectations and satisfaction. The findings of this study make an original contribution to the academic and practical knowledge of TQM. It is the first exploratory study to have assessed TQM implementation, and to have investigated the influence of organisational culture types on TQM implementation in Libyan banks. Besides presenting some recommendations for Libyan banks, the research offers suggestions for further research in this area

    Ancient Israel and Philistia: Settler Colonialism and Ethnocultural Interaction

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    This essay, concentrating on the Iron Age I period, looks at the possibility of seeing the early Israelite and Philistine societies as two settler colonial societies formed through colonising migration. An important part of the processes of settler colonialism involves intermixing and mutual influence between colonisers and indigenes, and an analysis of these aspects will be included. Some reflection will be made on the interplay of textual and archaeological evidence in trying to construct a settler colonial model. The essay will also include reflection on broad patterns of group identity formation based on considerations of ethnicit

    Resilience in the face of post-election violence in Kenya: The mediating role of social networks on wellbeing among older people in the Korogocho informal settlement, Nairobi

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    Older people in slum settings are a vulnerable sub-group during crises, yet have received minimal attention in the development discourse. This paper examines the protective role of different types of social networks for older slum dwellers' wellbeing during adversity by investigating the relationship between social networks, the Kenyan 2007/08 post-election violence, and dimensions of wellbeing namely self-rated health, life satisfaction and happiness amongst older people in the Korogocho slum, Nairobi. The analyses are based on conditional change logistic regression models using data from a unique longitudinal survey of the health and wellbeing of older people. The results show that maintaining or increasing formal local networks reduced the detrimental effects of the post-election violence for older people's wellbeing, whilst household environment and informal local and non-local networks did not influence the relationship. Consequently, the paper provides evidence that supporting inclusive community organisations which are accessible to older people can be valuable in promoting the resilience of this population group

    Stock Prices: Are Intuitive or Deliberate Persons Better Forecasters?

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    When it comes to financial decision-making like predicting stock price movements, it would be conceivable that rational people had an advantage over intuitive people. An experiment was conducted to test this hypothesis. Participants of the experiment provided repeated estimates for different shares and it was expected that rational people would end up with more ‘correct’ answers than intuitive people. Additionally, all participants of the experiment (N=59) completed a PID scale questionnaire (Betsch, 2004; Schunk & Betsch, 2006) to evaluate their preferences for deliberate or intuitive decision-making. The PID scale provided four categories to group people according to their preferences. In summary, it was concluded that intuitive people were slightly, but not significantly, better with financial decisionmaking than were rational people. A higher significance was observed from a direct comparison of the four PID categories. Predictions of PID-S-plus participants were significantly more accurate

    Differential recurrent neural network based predictive control

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    An efficient algorithm to train general differential recurrent neural networks is proposed. The trained network can be directly used as the internal model of a predictive controller. The efficiency and effectiveness of the approach are demonstrated through a two-CSTR case study, where a multi-layer perceptron differential recurrent network is adopted

    Recent rise to dominance of Molinia caerulea in environmentally sensitive areas: new perspectives from palaeoecological data

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    1. A characteristic of some heath and moorland areas in maritime north-west Europe is the widespread dominance of Molinia caerulea (purple moor grass). The overwhelming local supremacy of this species concerns farmers, owing to its relatively low palatability for grazing stock, and conservationists, owing to the monotonous, species-poor landscapes that often result under Molinietum. 2. In some environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) in England and Wales, Molinietum is believed to have ousted Callunetum in recent decades; experiments sponsored to control the species have predicated its infiltration and replacement of heather-dominated stands. 3. Experimental control of Molinia in ESAs on Exmoor, England, was paralleled by palaeoecological studies to verify its recent rise, assess its status in moorland, and test the utility of the techniques for such research. 4. Peat profiles from two localities on Exmoor were sampled and subjected to recently developed techniques of plant macrofossil counting and to conventional pollen analysis. One locality was ‘white moor’, clearly dominated by Molinia; the other was ‘grey moor’ (an admixture of ericaceous shrubs) that had become invaded (allegedly recently) by Molinia. 5. Dating of profiles employed a range of methods, including conventional radiocarbon dating, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating and the counting of spheroidal carbonaceous particles, to attempt to delimit horizons of recent peat growth. 6. The pollen and macrofossil data confirmed the recent ousting of Calluna and rise to dominance of Molinia in the grey moor, but also provided evidence of an earlier unsuspected (pre-Callunetum) presence of Molinia. The overwhelming dominance of Molinia in the white moor was also a recent phenomenon, but was only partly at the expense of Calluna. The palaeoecological data indicated a greater antiquity and former abundance of Molinia than is often appreciated and suggested that, over the past millennium, vegetation dominance has alternated between Callunetum and grass moor containing at least some Molinia, while the former Calluna-dominated grey moor itself developed originally from grass moor. 7. These findings have implications for conservation management and for restoration targets in ‘degraded’ moorland. Similar palaeoecological studies have since been adopted in Wales, directly to inform conservation and management policy

    Education Policy in Pakistan: National Challenges, Global Commitments

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    This article explores the main issues facing education policy in Pakistan, a relatively new country, still seeking to find its feet in terms of educating its future generations. The article highlights Pakistan’s intentions reflected in the commitments it makes on the world stage and the challenges of implementation at nation state level. A disparity between these two levels highlights why education in Pakistan remains sporadic and poor quality, against a backdrop of international interest in terms of the ‘war on terror’ and the perceived rising of madrassas and extremism. The article concludes with some practical recommendations of how global commitments could be used to address national challenges by shaping policy and importantly its implementation at ground level. One of these is to focus on educational research, within and by Pakistanis themselves, to understand their own educational needs more fully and consequently be able to construct policy more reflective of national challenges and feed into global commitments

    Restrictions into opportunities: how boundaries in the life course can shape educational pathways

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    This study explores relationships between experiences in initial education, subsequent life experiences/opportunities and the decision to return to education later in life. Semi-structured interviews with seven female returners to education, focused initially upon the women’s perceptions of their aspirations and motivations at various ages, how these related to the choices they felt they had available to them at different points in time, and their sense of agency. Subsequently, the interviewees considered the relationship between early educational experiences, post-school experiences, and their current choices. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts led to the identification of four main themes: restrictions, opportunities, personal development, and an underlying theme of planning. Consideration of the relationships between these themes led to the conclusion that it was life experiences rather than initial education that both motivated and empowered the interviewees to take advantage of opportunities for higher education

    Reliability of near-infrared spectroscopy for measuring intermittent handgrip contractions in sport climbers

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    The use of near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) to investigate muscle oxygenation changes during physical tasks such as rock climbing has rapidly increased within recent years; yet there is no known measure of reliability. The current study aimed to determine inter-session reliability and minimal detectable change (MDC) of continuous wave NIRS parameters during intermittent handgrip contractions in rock climbers. Thirty-two sport climbers were tested for exhaustive intermittent handgrip exercise (8s contraction – 2s relief) at 60 % of maximal voluntary contraction on three separate days. During each visit, continuous wave NIRS was used to determine tissue saturation index (TSI) as the measure of tissue oxygenation in the flexor digitorum profundus. To assess the inter-session reliability, the intra-class correlation (ICC), standard error of measurement (SEM), coefficient of variation (CV), and minimal (MDC) were used. Mean de-oxygenation during the contractions provided reliable results (∆ TSI; first trial -8.9 ± 2.9%, second trial -8.8 ± 2.7%, and third trial -8.4 ± 2.6%; ICC = 0.692; SEM = 1.5%; CV=17.2%; MDC = 4.2%). Mean muscle re-oxygenation during the relief periods was similarly reliable (∆ TSI; first trial 9.0 ± 3.1%, second trial 8.8 ± 2.9%, and third trial 8.5 ± 2.7%; ICC = 0.672; SEM = 1.7%; CV=19.0%, MDC = 4.7%). As such, continuous wave NIRS provides a reliable measure of de-oxygenation and re-oxygenation during intermittent contractions to failure in the forearm flexors of rock climbers. Differences exceeding ~4.5% for ∆TSI during contraction and relief periods should be considered meaningful

    Physician Opinions about EHR Use by EHR Experience and by Whether the Practice had optimized its EHR Use

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    Optimization and experience with using EHRs may improve physician experiences. Physician opinions about EHR-related impacts, and the extent to which these impacts differ by self-reported optimized EHR use and length of experience are examined through nationally representative physician data of EHR users from the National Electronic Health Records Survey extended survey (n=1,471). Logistic regression models first estimated how physicians' length of times using an EHR were associated with each EHR-related impact. Additionally, a similar set of models estimated the association of self-reported optimized EHR use with each EHR impact. At least 70% of physicians using EHRs continue to attribute their administrative burdens to their EHR use. Physicians with 4 or more years of EHR experience accounted for 58% of those using EHRs. About 71% of EHR users self-reported using an optimized EHR. Physicians with more EHR experience and those in practices that optimized EHR use had positive opinions about the impacts of using EHRs, compared to their counterparts. These findings suggest that longer experience with EHRs improves perceptions about EHR use; and that perceived EHR use optimization is crucial to identifying EHR-related benefits. Finding ways to reduce EHR-related administrative burden has yet to be addressed
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