• Are relationships with brands problematic or beneficial to Christian faith? An investigation into the role of faith brands in the faith development of members of some East Midlands churches

      Hodder, Chris; University of Derby (2017-06)
      This study is a work of Practical Theology aiming to create an interpretative paradigm within which to evaluate faith brands theologically and identify whether faith brands are problematic or beneficial to Christian faith. The research used qualitative research techniques – five focus groups drawn from a church in the East Midlands, triangulated with interviews with practitioners in both marketing and ministry, and documentary analysis of faith brands. An element of comparison was possible between focus groups by grouping those church members who self-identified as “charismatic/evangelical” into three groups and examining how the data generated in those groups compared with the other two groups, drawn from a more “central Anglican” tradition. The importance of relationships and the motif of the faith being a journey and a process are validated by the data. Some of the problematic issues that faith brands raise for Christian faith – including challenges of ecclesiology, and the risk of a reductionist approach to faith – are considered both from the perspective of faith brands (such as the Alpha course) which might be considered as “McDonaldising” the faith, as well as the perspective of more “localized” faith brands, embodied within the “Fresh Expressions” movement. The results suggest that whilst faith brands do pose risks for Christian faith – including the danger of reductionism, or challenges to traditional ecclesiology - they can also be beneficial where they are utilized in ways that are sensitive to the context in which individuals are relating to them. This PhD makes an original contribution to knowledge through by exploring in detail the impact of faith branding upon some members of East Midlands Churches, in itself an original focus of study. It also makes an original contribution by utilising the insights of Rational Choice Theory to interrogate the data and extends the field of Practical Theology in also beginning to develop a constructive theology of branding. Tracing the contours of an emerging theology of branding, the Apostle Paul’s contextual missionary flexibility is noted alongside an acknowledgement that creation is both fallen, and yet also nevertheless pregnant with goodness and grace. It is suggested (through drawing on insights in the work of Cavanaugh) that faith brands can be located comfortably within an Augustinian framework with respect to notions of choice and desire. Within a theological evaluation, faith brands could be seen to offer a way of seeking to influence the will towards to God – and as such, offer a counterpoint to consumer brands, because they are a means to what is understood theologically to be a true end (God), whereas in consumerism, the end is simply to continue desiring to buy. Finally, the notion of the missio Dei and Bosch & Sherry’s theology of the work of the Holy Spirit are offered as ways of understanding of how God works through human culture and human creativity.
    • Conflict in the Niger Delta and corporate social responsibility of multinational oil companies: An assessment

      Nwankwo, Beloveth Odochi; University of Derby (2016-05-19)
      The Niger Delta region of Nigeria contributes more than 95 percent of the country’s export incomes and generates more than 40 percent of the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 85 percent of the nation’s total revenue (Karl and Gray, 2003, p. 26). Although most multinational oil companies (MNOCs) have found the Niger Delta a fertile ground for business, the region remains backward, poor and underdeveloped. The host communities have been frustrated by the effects of oil production on the environment, which include oil spillages, the reduction of arable land, and the destruction of wild life and fish reserves. As a result of the oil bearing communities’ angry sentiments towards the MNOCs and the Nigerian Government, incessant conflict, and violent crises have enveloped the region. To mitigate the anger, the MNOCs have engaged in some programs and projects intended to benefit the oil- bearing communities in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This thesis is focused on how the CSR strategies of the MNOCs have contributed to the perennial conflict in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The mixed methods descriptive design study employed involves the use of survey instruments and content analysis to interrogate the conflict situation. Findings indicate that the failure of MNOCs operating in the Niger Delta region to provide concrete and sustainable CSR, and the government’s inability to regulate the MNOCs and plough back the taxes paid by the latter to develop the region, has led to the current crises. These supported the thesis that the lack of concrete social responsibility contributes to conflicts in the Niger Delta. Building upon the stakeholders’ theory, the theory of frustration and aggression, and conflict theory, this study discovered that the cause of the conflict in the Niger Delta is not solely an issue of corporate social responsibility and revenue allocation, but it largely depends on the divergences of the different stakeholders’ interests. This study, therefore, recommends a revocation of the 60/40 ownership structure between the government and the oil companies. Instead, host communities should be considered part owners of the oil deposits in their land, which would give them a fair percentage in the ownership structure.
    • “New public Management reforms, an empirical study of human resources critical factors, in the context of the Greek Public sector”

      Liveris, Panagiotis D.; University of Derby (2015-08-25)
      This work is an endeavour on the subject of the Critical Success Factors imposed by Human Resources, in the process of reforms, under the context of New Public Management, particularly, as this applies in the Greek Public Sector and more specifically in the cases of ISO implementation. The fundamental issues it attempts to elucidate are the Human Resources policies that must be applied, so that employees become an integral element for the successful implementation of any introduced reforms. Many scholars have pointed out the gap in literature regarding the effect of New Public Management (NPM) reforms on the human factor. Moreover, in the current Greek reality, in the context of the economic recession and the debt crisis, where public administration reforms are mandatory, the thorough examination of the vital issues, pertaining to Human Resources, consists a major priority. The qualitative research method applied with the employees of the reformed organisations has further aspired to ponder and determine what really matters during the transformational process from the employees’ point of view. The conclusions we have reached underpin the importance of Human Resources motivational factors in the reform process, taking into consideration that the employee is the catalyst for any change effort. Some of those factors were found to be also part of the ISO concept per se, thus, their implementation would boost the employees’ morale, while others must be carefully analysed, planned and implemented by all the stakeholders to further facilitate the change process. We have to bear in mind that, especially under the current dire economic environment, quality reforms could be a challenge, as they combine fiscal discipline and at the same time aspire to increase the employees’ and citizens’ satisfaction. This study goes further to suggest that, the implementation of ISO reforms could help all the participants, provided that the decision makers take into serious consideration the Critical Success Factors outlined herewith, that have been extracted from a survey conducted pertinent to our research. This study focused on the reforms/ISO process as implemented by the Intermediate Managing Authority of the Ionian Islands. Further research on the implications from the implementation of NMP doctrines on Human Resources should be conducted in other Greek governmental organisations, in order to reaffirm the results and possibly enhance the suggested model. Conclusively, our ultimate target is to assist decision makers and encourage them to utilise the arguments depicted, towards the successful implementation of NPM doctrines.