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Eve Collins | Tussles with ambidexterity: The case of managers of health professional education

This case study explores the lived experience of managers in an academic faculty concerned with the professional education of the health care workforce in the UK. The construct of ambidexterity is employed as a lens through which to understand how the organisation and individual managers pursue the dual aims of enhancing current capabilities whilst simultaneously adopting a future orientation to develop new ones. Case study data will be presented to afford a unique insight into how managers of professional healthcare education perceive and manage the complexity and dynamism of ambidexterity in their everyday practice.

Eve Collins is the Head of the Department of Social Work and Interprofessional Education at the University of Chester.  As an adult nurse she spent the early part of her career working in critical care before moving into Higher Education in 2000. Her research and writing interests are best described as eclectic and since adopting a managerial position she has developed a special interest in the way in which the global trend towards the marketization of higher education is transforming the world of work of academic managers and raising opportunities and challenges in equal measure.

Lauren Edwards | Expectations vs Reality: International Students and their Visa Journeys

This research project explored students’ experiences of visa support at the University of Chester, with particular attention paid to how their experiences differed to their expectations. The University of Chester is quite different from many other UK HEIs, in that it does not have a specific “Visa Advisor” role to help students deal with immigration issues. The research explored students’ opinions on the current provision of support at Chester. The results tell us what is most important to these students, and what one thing they most wish to be changed at the University.

Now based in the Legal Services department of the University of Chester, Lauren Edwards made the switch from student visa support to student immigration compliance four years ago. While the role of Tier 4 compliance officer is still perceived as the “bad cop” role by many, she believes that genuine student support and comprehensive institutional compliance can be balanced harmoniously. Lauren is in the process of completing her Level 7 Work Based Integrative Studies programme, titled “Managing International Student Processes in UK Higher Education”.

Vicky Evans | The resilience of solo entrepreneurs: A data dialogue

Solo entrepreneurs represent 76% of all businesses in the UK, and they often operate precariously which can implicate their well-being as well as the sustainability of their businesses (indeed, half of them ‘fail’ within 5 years). This study therefore seeks to understand how those who continue as solo entrepreneurs beyond five years develop the resilience to handle the challenges of their self-employed context. This research adopts the Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method which asks “Why did people who lived their lives like this, tell their stories like that?” The session invites others to discuss the data generated so far.

Vicky is a Senior Lecturer in Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Chester, specialising in the development of entrepreneurial resilience using frameworks derived from her research and her experience as a business owner for 12 years. In addition to her doctoral research on the development of entrepreneurial resilience among solo entrepreneurs, her research has also extended to organisational resilience, and investigating how managers influence the resilience of their employees. This has led to the creation of the Resilience Cascade tool, an innovative self-audit tool designed to enable managers to promote the resilience of their staff through effective managerial interventions.

Sandra Hopkins | A Story from the Dark Side of Education 

This research explores the complexity and journey of a work based learning academic and doctoral learner within a teaching and research driven environment through a story of a typical evening.  Through adaptive auto-ethnographic narrative, a personal and emotional tale is told of the multiple layers of identity/super complexity of an experienced work based learning tutor, early career researcher, doctoral student and professional. Exploring the story of how these identities interact, conflict and support one another, draws out the personal and professional within a culture where vulnerability is a dual-edged sword and well-being is a challenging concept.

Sandra Hopkins is a Senior Lecturer and a DProf learner at the University of Chester. As an education and management professional who excels at partnership and project working, Sandra can often be found in her natural habitat working as a change agent and translator between people and organisations. She holds a passion for education and learning on an international scale exploring fascinating insights into different cultures. She strongly believes that learning is for everyone - regardless of their physical or social status or geography - and is an integral part of human growth.

Mark Jamieson | Exploring ambidextrous balance in the evaluation of leadership coaching

Leadership coaching has grown to become a significant intervention to respond to the management needs of an increasingly complex organisational environment. The substantial investment in leadership coaching corresponds with current accountability trends, elevating evaluation in this context to organisational imperative, however, evidence finds that evaluation of the impact of leadership coaching is limited and problematic, both operationally and strategically. Specifically, whereas evaluation has primarily focused on current requirements and short term targets, there is also evidence of the increasing emphasis on managerial decision making, balancing short term outcomes with strategic long term capacity building. This session therefore shares data about the experiences and barriers of conducting leadership coaching evaluation which balance exploitative (short term known) and explorative (long term unknown) boundaries.

Mark Jamieson spent 25 years in UK professional service firms at executive board level. Most recently, he was a partner and Regional Chairman at Strutt & Parker running the Home Counties business, specialising in national residential property markets. He retired in 2015 to set up the Jamieson Partnership, an executive coaching consultancy and begin work on his Professional Doctorate. He specialises in leadership coaching across organisational sectors, as well as engaging in a small number of specialist projects, most recently focused on education, women in leadership and graduate coaching. His current research is focused on measuring the impact of executive coaching, and organisational perceptions of evaluation and ambidextrous balance.

Nerise Johnson | Emerging pluralities of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship

This research adopted an intersubjective, qualitative approach to explore the incidence and enactment of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship.  Existing literature had established that care was relational and proposed that cultural commonality between carer and cared for may be a significant feature of an authentic caring relationship.  By unpacking these complex relationships, this research identified that not only was care essential for an enriching and successful university experience but that its enactment was plural with emergent themes of mentorship, friendship and recognition of the individual.  It challenged the extant literature which often presumed that the need for care would recede as the student moved into adulthood and noted that cultural commonality did not appear to be a significant predictor of care capability. Moreover, the conceptualisation of care was particular to the status of the cared for as a postgraduate student with an observed stratification where actions not motivated by contractual duty (defined as subject specific or classroom bound) were perceived as more valuable. Recommendations arising from the research were that there remained opportunities for tutors to individualise the student experience through the enactment of care but in order to be meaningful, this necessitated tutor reflexivity of their own pedagogic and pastoral practices.

Nerise has been a member of academic staff at the University of Chester since August 2010.   Over the last three years, she has led teaching and learning enhancement and assessment design for overseas partners on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  Her research interests reflect her own story as a student of difference and the challenges this presented in an education system which favoured standardisation over individuation.  Outside of the University she works in a voluntary capacity acting as an advocate for young people with autistic spectrum condition.  Previously, Nerise has worked in the not for profit and commercial sectors with a focus on humanised change management and business reconfiguration.

Lan li | A comparative study on Students’ expectation of Entrepreneurship Education: UK and China

The importance of Entrepreneurship Education (EE) has been increasingly recognised by policy makers, educators, practitioners and researchers. Studies of EE can mainly be considered into two categories; one is focused on the supply side of EE, and the other is focused on the demand side of EE. One weakness that can be identified from the literature is there is a lack of attention on the learning process, in particular students’ expectation about the learning process. This study is aimed at addressing this knowledge gap by exploring students’ expectation on EE.

Lan Li is a second year PhD student in Business Research Institute. Her research topic is a comparative study on students’ expectation of entrepreneurship to education in the UK and China, and is now focusing on demand side of entrepreneurship education, and includes learners’ attitude, career choice, personality, demographics, gender, background, and family networks.

Dian Wang | Understanding the role of personal reputation to firm performance: A comparative study of UK and Chinese micro-enterprise

The connection between firm performance and reputation is recognised in the literature. However, compared to corporate branding, the notion of personal reputation has been virtually ignored. In the context of Micro-Entrepreneurship (ME), as firms are characterised by flatter organisational structures, more informal management styles (if any) and fewer human and financial resources. More significantly, in an environment where firm ownership is not divided from control and most owners are actively involved in the services delivery, it can be argued that the corporate reputation of ME is largely dictated by the personal reputation of the owner. The potential research project aims to make theoretical development contribution by testing the validity of relevant social psychological theory i.e. Stereotype Content Model. Secondly, the research findings should have practical value to ME owner managers in helping them to enhance their personal reputation and thus firm performance. 

Dian is a first year PhD student, research assistant and project co-coordinator at the Business Research Institute. Prior to joining the BRI he was an International Student Ambassador and Residential Advisor at University of Chester. He gained a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management and a Master's in International Business Management from the University of Chester’s Business School. He is an active researcher on several projects, including a study recently commissioned by the West Cheshire and North Wales’ Chamber of Commerce. Dian’s PhD research is focused on Personal Reputation and Micro-entrepreneurship.

Langton Mburayi | Sustainability in the professional accounting and finance curriculum: An exploration

The purpose of this session is to examine the extent to which sustainability is integrated into accounting and finance curricula in business schools, and to understand some of the challenges of doing so. It presents the findings from a systematic review of previous literature, and demonstrates that accounting and finance lags behind other management disciplines in embedding sustainability and that institutional commitment is oftentimes a strong imperative for effective integration of sustainability.

Langton Mburayi is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at University of Chester. He started his career in professional services with Ernst & Young and has held senior finance roles in Construction, Telecommunications and Pharmaceutical industries. His research interests are in sustainability, in particular the concept of policy–practice decoupling, exploring how organisations integrate sustainability into their strategies and their activities.

Wendy Moran |An exploration of Public Relations Leadership

This study explores our understanding of Public Relations leadership, critically examining the “what”, “how” and “why” of leadership practice. Drawing on Hales’ (1986, 1991) multi-layered exploration of manager roles, responsibilities and behaviours, this study will take a similar approach reviewing the literature surrounding what it is that leaders do, leadership processes and the influences on leadership behaviour in the public relations context. Here the study draws on key PR leadership literature including Berger and Meng's (2014) identification of traits, behavioural, situational and transformational dimensions of leadership to provide a template informing the empirical element of the research.

Wendy Moran is a Senior Lecturer in Public Relations, specialising in communication across the public services. In 2015, she was elected Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Local Public Services (LPS) Group. During her time as Chair, Wendy led a national research project examining the new challenges for public service communicators in the age of austerity. The report 'Influence for Impact' was launched at CIPR HQ in October 2015. In 2013, Wendy co-authored PR and Communication in Local Government and Public Services, published by Kogan Page. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies with Professor Danny Moss.

Matt Parkyn | Managers managing stress: Exploring experiences of managers in the housing sector

Workplace stress is a growing concern for organisations and individual workers alike. Research reports commissioned by the UK Government cite workplace stress as having a significant impact on the UK economy and being a factor in the low productivity rates in UK. The 2018 UK Working Lives Survey found that ‘squeezed’ middle managers are overworked and that this is linked to high levels of workplace mental ill health and stress. Therefore this research explores the experiences of middle managers in the social housing sector when tackling workplace stress of workers. This session will share data collected so far through semi structured interviews to get a sense of how others respond to the analysis conducted so far.

Matt Parkyn is a Director of Caldiston Ltd, a management consultancy firm specialising in occupational health, safety and HRM, and is retained as a consultant/advisor by several housing associations. Matt started his career working for the NHS in mental health services followed by 7 years with the Metropolitan Police Service where he worked in the Command & Control Complex at New Scotland Yard and H&S Branch. Between 2007 and 2016, Matt worked in senior roles in further education, housing and the civil service, serving as the head of the health and safety function for three and a half years. Then, before joining Caldiston Ltd in 2018, he worked as a Senior Consultant for a leading property risk consultancy.

Debbie Rowlett | Transitions and students' wellbeing in Higher Education: The role of Independent learning skills

Students are facing significant challenges during transition to university including increased stress and inaccurate expectations. Key influences in this include lack of preparedness, ineffective relationships with academic staff, and inadequate independent learning skills. Most research to date focuses upon how wider university services and external agencies can support student wellbeing, however, there is limited research on how academic staff can directly or indirectly influence student well-being through the development of independent learning skills. Therefore, this session explores a proposal to explore what academic staff can do to embed independent learning skills during transition.

Debbie is a Senior Lecturer in International Business Management. She has a background of more than twenty years in teaching, working in Higher Education for most of that time. She has been awarded a HEA Fellowship as well as MSc and BEd Hons degrees, and has an extensive background in both teaching business and management, leading staff development as an Advanced Practitioner, as well as Teacher Training for the University of Chester.

Debbie has also worked to develop a start- up Social Enterprise Company in the fields of mediation, counselling and training. In this role she obtained extensive experience of working with second and third sector partners including local councils, health authorities and charities. While working for this organisation she was involved in considerable research in the areas of community cohesion and supporting families living in disadvantaged areas.

Jayne Russell | Adapting appreciative inquiry in work-based learning projects: Findings and insights

This session illustrates how an organisation adapted a form of appreciative inquiry to facilitate organisational change and generated outcomes which were meaningful to the various occupational groupings involved. Specifically, it highlights that the utilisation of appreciative inquiry in the context of an adapted work-based project in difficult organisational circumstances generated positive emotions manifest through a compelling vision and action plans, and that the impacts (such as a vision) can become entangled and therefore part of the wider ecological context which promotes pathways to such impact. Participants will also be given access to a recently published article relating to the project.

Jayne Russell (RNutr) is highly experienced in research, public health, nutrition, behaviour change, healthy lifestyle, management, and communication skills. She is a published author. She is also a Master Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner (NLP), hypnotherapist and mindfulness based practitioner with an adaptable, resilient approach to working, being solution focused and an ability to foster positive work communications; thus thriving on empowering staff to have a good work/life balance. Jayne runs 'The Russell Effect', a consultancy specialising in workplace health.

Debbie Scott | Telling stories of impact: What place do scripts have in understanding learners’ experiences of work based learning?

My thesis explores the impact of learners’ experiences of work based learning.  Data are presented through creation of scripts, each script telling one participant’s story. Examples from a selection of the scripts will be shared, along with an outline of the corresponding analysis, inviting participants to respond, and noting the risks, opportunities and legitimacy of this approach. Relevant topics include: narrative research; personal, professional, organisational impact; Thirdspace; creativity; equality; critical reflection.

For several years I have been Senior Lecturer in Centre for Work Related Studies and Work Based Learning.  Currently studying for an EdD, my thesis takes a narrative approach to exploring learners’ experiences of work based learning. Long interested in individual differences in circumstances, opportunities, and approaches, I find myself drawn to a critical perspective on expectations of ‘impact’ as understood in my profession. Recent experiences of working with Masters Graduates for presentations at international conferences increase my awareness that I could collaborate more often with students on dissemination of their learning.

Teresa Smith | Does marketing innovative sustainable products require a green marketing strategy?

Is green marketing a distinct sub-discipline of marketing or is it a case of the emperor’s green clothes? Studies suggest adopting sustainable business strategies can increase competitive advantage, enhance brand reputation and improve financial performance. However, a dearth of empirical research exists, particularly UK-focussed, regarding the marketing activities undertaken by organisations delivering innovative sustainable technologies. A qualitative case-study of selected UK businesses will explore marketing strategies for bringing sustainable products to market. Additionally, whether there is a distinct ‘green marketing’ model will be examined and, if so, how this differs from traditional marketing. This research aims to assist organisations to successfully bring sustainable products to market.

Teresa is currently completing the first year of her DBA course and is a Senior Consultant for Pure Energi specialising in marketing strategy. She began her career working within financial services followed by 9 years within Higher Education undertaking various marketing roles. Her research interest stemmed from a former role as Head of Strategy and Communications for a sustainable food and energy developer company where she discovered the challenges and complexities involved in marketing sustainable technologies. Teresa hopes her research will make a direct contribution to the development of marketing practice for sustainable technologies.

Wendy Wild | To Thrive & Drive or Wither & Die?

The presentation will give an overview of the research findings to date. The research is using interpretative phenomenological analysis as an investigative approach to study how owner-managers of small growing organisations thrive at work. The presentation will give the main findings from the study to date and will share the journey from data collection to interpretation and findings. The narrative will be peppered with personal reflections from the process to share with the audience the experience, both the successes and the challenges.

Wendy is currently undertaking a DProf at the University of Chester. She has been lecturing for over 12 years at several universities in their business schools on both undergraduate and executive programmes. Prior to this she held management positions in industry and is a small business mentor, both of these underpin her passion for her research, to help small business owners scale their organisations. She firmly believes that it is small businesses that are the backbone of the British economy and support for these firms will positively impact the economy and society.

Sen Yang | Immigration entrepreneurship from an entrepreneurial learning perspective

While the UK political climate towards low-skilled migrants is mitigating as the Brexit has entered a transition period, the popular perception of immigrations taking jobs and depressing wages is uneased. However, it has been urged that the contribution of immigrant entrepreneurs to the UK economy should be no longer overlooked by either government or academia. Although previous research studies on entrepreneurship have focused on identifying the factors or elements that give rise to enhanced entrepreneurial activity, there is yet no convincing evidence on what gives rise to migrant entrepreneurship.

The question raised from this is how and why migrants are engaging in entrepreneurship and business creation within the same political and economic environment regardless the disadvantage of being minorities in the host countries. The extant literature does not explain the emerging phenomenon of global entrepreneurship, where migrants will choose favourable and business-friendly environment to realise specific business plans, to the UK’s case, via either the education or highly-skilled migrant routes (Gov UK, 2013). This proposed research argues that by adopting an entrepreneurial learning lens within the theoretical perspectives of Weick’s (1969; 1995) sense-making and enactment theory, a more comprehensive understanding will emerge to explain why migrants can demonstrate greater success in entering entrepreneurship, despite the unfavourable economic, social and cultural conditions.

Sen Yang is a part-time doctoral researcher at the Business Research Institute of the University of Chester. His research focus is on immigration entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning. Prior to his PhD study, he has been involved in several business ventures in the UK. Being a serial entrepreneur himself, Sen believes the only shortcut to understand individual’s depth is experiencing failures and the associated learning at a higher level. His next start-up attempt is going to be developing plagiarism detection software as an alternative to the popular offering by Turnitin. Sen is also a promoter in terms of business and research collaboration between the UK and China.