Bradford Scholars is the University of Bradford online research archive. Access is free to anyone interested in research being conducted at Bradford. In the repository you will find a range of materials from journal articles and conference papers to research reports and theses.
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The nature of the self, self‑regulation and moral action: implications from the Confucian relational self and Buddhist non‑selfThe concept of the self and its relation to moral action is complex and subject to varying interpretations, not only between different academic disciplines but also across time and space. This paper presents empirical evidence from a cross-cultural study on the Buddhist and Confucian notions of self in SMEs in Vietnam and Taiwan. The study employs Hwang’s Mandala Model of the Self, and its extension into Shiah’s non-self-model, to interpret how these two Eastern philosophical representations of the self, the Confucian relational self and Buddhist non-self, can lead to moral action. By demonstrating the strengths of the model, emphasizing how social and cultural influences constrain the individual self and promote the social person leading to moral action, the paper extends understanding of the self with empirical evidence of the mechanisms involved in organizational contexts
Solution processed PVB/mica flake coatings for the encapsulation of organic solar cellsOrganic photovoltaics (OPVs) die due to their interactions with environmental gases, i.e., moisture and oxygen, the latter being the most dangerous, especially under illumination, due to the fact that most of the active layers used in OPVs are extremely sensitive to oxygen. In this work we demonstrate solution-based effective barrier coatings based on composite of poly(vinyl butyral) (PVB)and mica flakes for the protection of poly (3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT)-based organic solar cells (OSCs)against photobleaching under illumination conditions. In the first step we developed a protective layer with cost effective and environmentally friendly methods and optimized its properties in terms of transparency, barrier improvement factor, and bendability. The developed protective layer maintained a high transparency in the visible region and improved oxygen and moisture barrier quality by the factor of ~7. The resultant protective layers showed ultra-flexibility, as no significant degradation in protective characteristics were observed after 10 K bending cycles. In the second step, a PVB/mica composite layer was applied on top of the P3HT film and subjected to photo-degradation. The P3HT films coated with PVB/mica composite showed improved stability under constant light irradiation and exhibited a loss of <20% of the initial optical density over the period of 150 h. Finally, optimized barrier layers were used as encapsulation for organic solar cell (OSC) devices. The lifetime results confirmed that the stability of the OSCs was extended from few hours to over 240 h in a sun test (65◦C, ambient RH%) which corresponds to an enhanced lifetime by a factor of 9 compared to devices encapsulated with pristine PVB.
The scope of carer effects and their inclusion in decision-making: A UK-based Delphi studyBackground and objective: Health and social care may affect family carers’ health and wellbeing in addition to patients’ lives. It is recommended that such impacts (carer effects) are considered in decision-making. However, the scope of carer effects and range of decisions where carer effects should be considered is uncertain. This study aimed to identify (i) how different categories of healthcare and social care were perceived to impact on family carers and (ii) whether there was consensus about when carer effects should be formally considered in decision-making contexts. Methods: A Delphi study was conducted with 65 UK-based participants with expertise in dementia, mental health, and stroke. Participants considered two broad forms of ‘interventions’ (patient treatment and replacement care) and two broad forms of ‘organisational change’ (staffing and changes in timing/location of care). Participants assessed the likely impacts of health and social care on family carers and whether impacts should be considered in decision-making. The survey was conducted remotely at two time points. Results: Participants predicted widespread impacts from interventions and organisational changes on different domains of family carers’ lives, with ‘emotional health’ the most likely outcome to be affected. Patient treatment and replacement care services (‘interventions’) were associated with positive impacts across all domains. Conversely, timing/location changes and staffing changes (‘organisational changes’) were perceived to have mixed and negative impacts. There was widespread support (80-81%) for considering carer effects in research studies, funding decisions, and patient decision-making. Conclusion: This study highlights a perception that carer effects are widespread and important to consider in economic evaluation and decision-making. It highlights the particular need to measure and value effects on carers’ emotional health and the need to use a societal perspective to avoid cost shifting to family carers when introducing interventions and making organisational changes.
Resilient and Sustainable Supply Chain Networks: A Case Study of the Perishable Food Industry in the USContemporary supply chain management (SCM) issues are multiplex and continually evolving catalysed by complexities and dynamism. The perishable food industry exemplifies this phenomenon, driven by globalisation, technological advancements and a highly competitive business environment. Inescapably, food supply chains are increasingly operating as supply chain networks (SCN). SCNs are typified by a higher level of interdependence and connectivity amongst firms, consequently evolving from dyad and triad relationships, which have dominated SCM research. These changes generate divergent risks and vulnerabilities that perturb perishable food supply chains in unconventional ways. Thus, the purpose of this empirical study is to investigate how firms within a perishable food supply chain network can build resilience and sustainability. The research focuses on advancing the management of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Methodologically, an empirical qualitative study is undertaken within a food manufacturer (focal firm) and 18 independent firms operating across all tiers of its SCN. Applying a pragmatic philosophical positioning, the study draws concepts from key supply chain theories to investigate the phenomena. The investigation uses Nicolini’s Zooming in and Zooming out as an analytical lens. The zooming in and out is established by shifting analytical lenses and re-positioning actors’ praxis, to ensure certain facets of their actions are fore-grounded while others are put in a background position and contrariwise moving the background to the foreground. The purpose of this technique is to draw meaning from everyday practices and trace the actions of actors across the entire SCN. The results uncover four distinct but intertwined main categories; whose subtle and often ignored interplay is crucial in attaining SCN resilience and sustainability. These main categories are Collaboration, Power Dynamics, SCN Culture and Information Systems. Current supply chain literature argues that collaboration is an essential enabler of resilience and sustainability. Building on this, the findings make a significant contribution by teasing out the intangible and predominately unacknowledged antecedents and salient sustaining factors of effective SCN collaboration. Furthermore, the study develops a resilience and sustainability (RS) matrix, which renders different impacts and outcomes of varying levels of SCN collaboration between firms operating in a perishable food SCN. Therefore, this thesis contributes knowledge towards constructing resilient and sustainable perishable food SCNs by proffering pragmatic propositions. These aim to address challenges facing industry stakeholders and ignite pertinent future research avenues for scholars.
Design of a self-learning multi-agent framework for the adaptation of modular production systemsThis paper presents the design of a multi-agent framework that aids engineers in the adaptation of modular production systems. The framework includes general implementations of agents and other software components for self-learning and adaptation, sensor data analysis, system modelling and simulation, as well as human-computer interaction. During an adaptation process, operators make changes to the production system, in order to increase capacity or manufacture a product variant. These changes are automatically captured and evaluated by the framework, building an experience base of adjustments that is then used to infer adaptation knowledge. The architecture of the framework consists of agents divided in two layers: the agents in the lower layer are associated with individual production modules, whereas the agents in the higher layer are associated with the entire production line. Modelling, learning, and adaptations can be performed at both levels, using a semantic model to specify the structure and capabilities of the production system. An evaluation of a prototype implementation has been conducted on an industrial assembly system. The results indicate that the use of the framework in a typical adaptation process provides a significant reduction in time and resources required.