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Projects – Bath Spa University

We champion dialogue around issues in ethics and professional practice through a number of externally funded research projects

CLEPP's research projects use a number of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine cross-disciplinary subjects around ideas of ethics and professional practice. They work across subjects in Higher Education, military and police forces, as well as within international contexts. 

Further details of individual member projects can also be found via the relevant staff profiles.


Police perceptions of restorative justice: findings from a small‐scale study

Key centre participants: Allyson MacVean

This project considers the views and perceptions of police officers and staff from a local police force in England, on the training provided in, and use of, restorative justice. These views were obtained through the use of an online questionnaire as well as the recording of comments made by police officers and staff after one training session. This study adds to the literature on restorative justice as police views in this area are underresearched in England and Wales.

The ethical health and culture of the Five Arms of the Naval Service

Key centre participants: Professor Allyson MacVean 

This study, commissioned by the Naval Service, examined the ethical health and culture across the Five Arms of the Naval Service. Drawing on a unique theoretical framework designed to examine ethical leadership, behaviour and decision-making across a range of roles and ranks provided an insight into areas of good practice and vulnerability in a variety of settings.

Drawing on models of ethical professional practice from medical and law enforcement organisations, the research highlighted similar issues and challenges encountered by those operating in the public service sector. In particular, the inter-related themes of autonomy, empowerment of lethal and non-lethal force and the concept of operating in remote environments were considered in relation to ethical leadership and ethical drift.

An evaluation of three one-team initiatives: Halcon, North Taunton and Wellington

Key centre participants: Professor Allyson MacVean and Charlotte Read 

The award One-Team approach pioneered in Halcon, Somerset, offered a unique partnership approach which focussed on addressing the causes the crime and criminality as much as crime itself. The evaluation provides evidence that the One Team philosophy, ‘Think Differently; Do Differently’, was extremely successful in achieving its aims.

This philosophy takes an all-inclusive people and residential approach to recognising issues that impact upon the wellbeing of the community. It seeks to innovate through creative initiatives that enable the community as part of the solution. The community members, whose voices, further articulated the achievements of the One-Team and sentiments were expressed throughout the research.

Understanding leadership in HE from a disability perspective

Key centre participants: Mahmoud Emira

This small-scale project, conducted at an English university, aimed to examine leadership, the barriers to becoming a leader and the support needed to overcome them, from the perspectives of disabled staff.

An online questionnaire was sent to all 66 members of staff, from which twelve participants were then interviewed as two focus groups to discuss their views on leadership and its relation to their role. This work was supported by six additional face-to-face interviews. 

The findings indicated that over half of the respondents were already engaged in ‘formal’ leadership and even more exercised ‘informal’ leadership. This key finding seems to contradict the under-representation of disabled academics in leadership reported in the literature, while also suggesting that an impairment might not necessarily deter disabled staff from exercising leadership. A number of support strategies are recommended to facilitate their participation in (formal) leadership. 

Towards preparing young people for employment and further study: first evaluation of the City and Guilds TechBac

Key centre participants: Mahmoud Emira

Despite the UK government increasing efforts to tackle unemployment, young people face a number of barriers when finding work. As a leading awarding body, City & Guilds launched the TechBac in 2014 to address some of these barriers and provide learners with a balanced programme of vocational study.

Using a mixed-method approach, the research involved qualitative interviews with learners, tutors and employers and a quantitative learner survey. It aimed to understand the experiences of learners doing, and tutors delivering, the TechBac; identify mediating and moderating factors in this process and suggest improvements.

Overall, the findings indicated a positive impact on learners’ knowledge, skills and their attitude to learning, which increased their demand with employers. 

Support staff leadership: opportunities and challenges
  • Funding: SES (Society for Educatonal Studies)
  • Key centre participants: Mahmoud Emira

This project argues that engaging support staff in leadership is likely to develop their role informally and complement teacher leadership. It examined the views of a group of teaching assistants (TAs) and higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) in the English Midlands on leadership, the barriers to participation in leadership and the ways to improve their role. It also examines the extent to which their levels of experience should be taken into account when engaging support staff in leadership.

The findings indicated that leadership, among other things, should focus on creating an atmosphere conducive to fostering collaboration and participation in decision-making. 

Healthier Outcomes at Work (HOW) - social work project
  • Funding: Department for Work and Pensions (UK) Challenge Fund
  • Key centre participant: Mark Loon

This project aims to co-develop, implement, and evaluate app-based mental health interventions for social workers to prevent mental ill health, absence, and attrition.  The app intends to provide information on the signs and symptoms of negative mental health in self and others. By spotting signs/symptoms in self and others, and early signposting toward appropriate from employing organisations, cases will be identified before leading to sickness absence.

To examine self-directed learning and development strategies in early career
  • Funding: University Forum for Human Resource Development Research grant
  • Key centre participant: Mark Loon

The notion of self-directed learning is being increasingly embraced by organisations, as evidenced by the rise in popularity of curation and the development of ‘personal learning environments’.

However, the question remains; how well have tertiary education institutions prepared students to be independent and self-directed learners? Such a question is important given the increasing complexity of work life especially that of careers that graduates will embark upon as soon as they leave their institutions.

Exploring the drivers of change in Learning and Development
  • Funding: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Key centre participant: Mark Loon

The only constant is change. Numerous studies have reported that the external environment is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). This project takes stock of the situation by identifying the trends and trajectories of change drivers. The aim of this study is to explore how these changes are impacting organisations and the critical capabilities Learning and Development needs to develop in this evolving context.

Knowledge management functions and management information systems integration – creating a dynamic framework for effective HR management in HEIs
  • Funding - Bath Spa College of Liberal Arts (COLA) Research Support 
  • Key centre participants: Lu Liu and Mark Loon

From its emergence 40 years ago, management information systems (MIS) have been a less developed topic due to little attention paid by higher education researchers. Although knowledge management has increased in popularity and credibility as a management tool as well as a research discipline in business practice and studies, within the higher education, this topic is still under slow development.

This study attempts to advance current thinking about MIS and knowledge management system (KMS) by proposing integration into one holistic information system – Knowledge-based Management Information System. The aim of launching this KBMIS is to build an effective, time-saving and change adaptive information system for the HEIs to improve communications, enhance information precision, speed up information flow, cope with changes, systemically manage the knowledge, and eventually flattening the organisational structure. 

How to enhance international and domestic students’ interaction? - Design and Development of an International Business Module
  • Funding: Bath Spa e-learning funding
  • Key centre participant: Lu Liu

Scholars argue of the importance of the interaction between international students and domestic students to achieve better learning outcomes for both sides. However, research has shown that due to cultural, language and other issues, international students tend to keep themselves within a community of their fellow countrymen on and off campus - the same with domestic students. 

This research aims to identify and practice strategies to encourage and facilitate engagement with between international and domestic students. Taking an International Business module as a case study, this research identifies the strategies to be used to design and deliver classes that better help international students and domestic students to interact.

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