559 results for Auckland University of Technology, Doctoral

  • Using a boat instrumentation system to measure and improve elite on-water sculling performance

    Coker, Jennifer (2010-09-07)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Sculling performance is largely determined by the magnitude and timing of blade force application, i.e. the size and shape of the sculler’s force profile. Discovering specific force profile characteristics that relate strongly with boat velocity in elite scullers, and determining how best to measure them, would allow recommendations for improved performances. The objective of this thesis was to expand knowledge regarding biomechanical measurement of sculling force profiles and to understand how the PowerLine™ boat instrumentation system could be used effectively to measure and improve elite on-water sculling performance. A literature review showed that effective rowing force profiles are large, smooth, rectangular, and have a peak force in front of the perpendicular oar position. Laboratory validity testing showed that PowerLine™ was valid for use with elite scullers, displaying a standard error of the estimate of less than 0.90 kgF for force and less than 0.5° for angle measures. On-water reliability testing established smallest worthwhile effect sizes for PowerLine™ variables for elite scullers completing 500-m trials, including 0.44% for stroke power and 0.5° for angular variables. Scullers in double sculls were more variable than single scullers so consistency in stroke power was recommended as a focus for crew scullers. Sculler analyses using PowerLine™ was better when using the average of five strokes rather than single strokes. Step wise linear regression analyses presented models for two elite scullers explaining 84% and 85% of their variation in boat velocity. However, the relationships between sculling performance and biomechanical stroke variables, including different measures of catch technique, were not consistent between elite scullers and cannot be generalised. Analyses of changes in means for four elite scullers showed that biomechanical stroke variables did differ significantly between single, double and quad sculls and therefore training and selection should be boat class specific. In elite double sculls, correlations between change in performance and change in bow versus stroke peak force synchronization indicated that it is likely to be beneficial to performance if the stroke peaks with their force earlier and with the handles further to the stern than the bow seat. Switching the seating order in these double sculls resulted in mean boat velocity changing by up to 5.8% of world record time signifying the importance of seat-specific trialling. Extensive differences between elite scullers in the strength and direction of relationships between performance and PowerLine™ variables showed that full analyses of all variables must be conducted individually for each sculler. The importance of seating order in double sculls, and the benefits of the stroke seat peaking before the bow, have implications for crew selection, seat allocation, and technical recommendations. Seat trials for crew sculling boats must be seat-specific and include racing in all seating orders. Further research is necessary to verify and explain the synchronisation requirements of crew sculling boats before more scientific seat allocation can be achieved in these boats. Sculling force profiles from PowerLine™ can be used effectively to measure and improve elite on-water sculling performance.

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  • Church communication and constructions of the self: exploring identity & identification in church communication

    Nairn, Angelique Margarita (2013-11-05)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The purpose of this research was to examine the everyday communications of Christian religious organisations for evidence of intentional and unintentional construction of member identity (Cheney, 1983a). My interest in this research emerged when I observed what appeared to be a proliferation of church communications in New Zealand society. On the one hand, these everyday communications seemed designed to promote the church to its constituents. On the other hand, however, they were also embedded with messages that could deliberately and deliberatively limit the possible range of members’ self identities if they identified with the church. My research investigated the practices that churches adopted in connection with developing prototypical identities for members (Hogg & Terry, 2000). To that end, I established two overarching research questions: how do religious organisations use rhetorical tools to construct identities for current and potential members and produce identification and disidentification? And for what purpose(s) are such member identities constructed, mobilised and perpetuated? Rhetorical analysis proved particularly useful in answering these questions because of its capacity to reveal attempts to influence peoples’ attitudes and behaviours. I found Cheney’s (1983a) rhetorical identification typology, with its textual focus and wide application fit my needs for detecting both overt and subtle attempts at encouraging members to identify with their church. At its core, the typology is comprised of four strategies: the common ground technique, identification through antithesis, the ‘transcendent we’ and unifying symbols. In my analysis, I found that, although the strategies presented across the texts some more than others their incorporation could, in fact, produce both identification and disidentification, depending on how the members decoded the messages. If identification inducement was successful, it could lead members to adopt the preferred decisional premises of the organisation into their self concepts (Tompkins & Cheney, 1985), ultimately subordinating members to the control of the church. Another of my research findings was that the churches had one prevailing motivation for encouraging identification: altruism. Such a motivation was not entirely unexpected, given that, central to Christianity, is the need for members to go forth and do good (Chaves & Tsitsos, 2001), which will not only earn them an eventual place in heaven (Irons, 1996), but in the interim, will meet members’ needs for self worth and self esteem (Pffefer & Fong, 2005). Yet underneath this motivation, was a much more ‘church centric’ reason for binding members to the church: survival. In a secular society, such as New Zealand (Koilg, 2000), where religion is declining and denominations compete among themselves for memberships (Lambert, 1999; Melton, 1998), the need to establish a societal presence to survive was likely unavoidable. The need to survive perhaps accounts for the growing shift of churches to adopt secular communication channels in order to target their messages at current and potential members. In conclusion, my research found that churches would establish prototypical characteristics (Hogg & Terry, 2000) for members by incorporating rhetorical practices, which could be beneficial to members, but which were certainly worthwhile to the church.

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  • Microwave sensing for non-destructive evaluation of anisotropic materials with application in wood industry

    Bogosanovic, Mirjana (2012-11-30)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Microwave non-destructive testing of wood is an active research field, but, despite remarkable advances reported in the literature to date, the wood testing devices are not widely implemented in industry. This thesis aims to progress the knowledge on wood testing by investigating two of the key issues: microwave propagation through dried wood and sensor design. Two microwave antennas with focused beam are designed and implemented. First antenna is a commonly used horn with a dielectric lens, offering a broadband solution, operating over the 8 to 12.4 GHz frequency band. The second solution is a novel metal plate lens antenna with beam forming in the near field zone. A successful beam forming and focusing is achieved, but a narrowband characteristic prevented application of this sensor for microwave wood testing considered in this thesis. A microwave system for a free-space measurement of wood properties is, in its various forms, applied to measurement of wood properties, considering wood as an anisotropic, heterogeneous and multiphase dielectric. Microwave free-space transmission measurement methods are considered, analysing error sources and available mitigation techniques. A focused-beam transmission measurement setup with free-space calibration has been identified as an optimum solution for microwave wood testing. The properties of this measurement system are analysed, having in mind its application for wood measurement in industrial environment. The samples for the study are carefully chosen to cover a range of features frequently met in practice. The ‘actual’ sample properties, against which the performance microwave measurements are judged, are determined using visual inspection and CT scan. The theoretical background on electromagnetic wave propagation through anisotropic media is considered. Of particular interest is depolarisation of a linear plane wave in anisotropic media, which is also demonstrated experimentally. A simple case of grain inclination in a plane is considered first, demonstrating experimentally that grain inclination directly relates to the level of depolarisation. This is then applied to a general case, in which the grain is inclined in three-dimensional space. It is shown that the technique has a good correlation with visually inspected grain angle values, but additional sensor calibration is recommended. Heterogeneity of the sample is analysed using the same set of sensors, but in different arrangement. The aim was to detect variations in wood structure and investigate a method for automated categorisation of wood samples, based on the type of defect. The categorisation of samples is considered as a way to combat a great variability in sample properties and allow easier and more accurate empirical modelling. The microwave transmission measurement data are compared with CT scans and visual inspection of samples. Good results are achieved, not only for samples with distinctive defects such as knots, but for samples with needle flecks, resin pockets and change in annual ring arrangement along the axial direction. Heterogeneity study is then extended to include an analysis of effects which gradual variations in wood structure have on the measured microwave signal. The obtained results show that phase of the microwave transmission coefficient can be used as a good indicator of slow variation in sample density. The study also includes an analysis of free space calibration and broadband transmission measurement, investigating its positive sides such as improved accuracy, as well as its negative sides such as complexity which these procedures introduce in an industrial process. Techniques for combating residual error are investigated, offering the frequency averaging as an easily implemented option. The importance of working over a frequency bandwidth is demonstrated, for dealing with phase periodicity as well as combating measurement uncertainty. Response calibration is considered as an affordable option which can remove some of the systematic errors, yet is less disruptive for the industrial process. Furthermore, both moisture content and density distribution are considered, as well as bulk properties, averaged over the whole sample volume. It has been demonstrated that both moisture and density of wood contribute to the changes in microwave transmission coefficient. Measured data reveal a polarisation dependence of the moisture related transmission magnitude, which may be used as additional information in attempt to distinguish between the contributors. This was further investigated on the set of samples observed at several moisture content values. The correlation between bulk density and microwave measured density improves when samples with knots are omitted, demonstrating advantage of sample categorisation. In the final section of the thesis, the scattering experiment is performed, measuring the transmission through the wood when transmitting and the receiving antenna axes are at the right angle. This experiment shows that maximum transmission in this direction correlates best with the arrangement of annual rings in the sample, indicating possible existence of guided modes in the layered media. This finding is significant as it demonstrates the complexity of microwave propagation model for the sample with such complex structure.

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  • Geospatial process modelling for land use cover change

    Nti, Isaac Kwadwo (2013-11-29)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Human activities and effects of global warming are increasingly changing the physical landscape. In view of this researchers have developed models to investigate the cause and effect of such variations. Most of these models were developed for specific locations with spatial variables causing change for that location. Also the application areas of these models are mainly binary transitions, not complex models which involve multiple transitions, for example deforestation models which deal with the transition from forest lands to non-forest areas and urban growth transition from non-urban areas to urban. Moreover these land simulation models are closed models because spatial variables cannot be introduced or removed, rather modellers can only modify the coefficients of the fixed variables. Closed models have significant limitations largely because geospatial variables that cause change in a locality may differ from one another. Thus with closed models the modellers are unable to measure and test the significance of variables before their inclusion. This work investigated existing land use cover change (LUCC) models and aimed to find a geospatial workflow process modelling approach for LUCC so that the influence of geospatial variables in LUCC could be measured and tested before inclusion. The derived geospatial workflow process was implemented in DINAMICA EGO, an open generic LUCC modelling environment. For the initial calibration phase of the process the Weight of Evidence (WoE) method was used to measure the influence of spatial variables in LUCC and also to determine the variables significance. A Genetic Algorithm was used to enhance the WoE coefficients and give the best fitness of the coefficients for the model. The model process was then validated using kappa and fuzzy similarity map comparison methods, in order to quantify the similarity between the observed and simulated spatial pattern of LUCC. The performance of the workflow process was successfully evaluated using the Auckland Region of New Zealand and Rondônia State of Brazil as the study areas. The Auckland LUCC model was extended to demonstrate vegetative carbon sequestration scenario. Ten transitions were modelled involving seven Land Use Cover (LUC) classes and a complex dynamic LUCC for Auckland was generated. LUC maps for 1990 and 2000 were used to calibrate the model and 2008 was used to validate the model. The static spatial variables tested were road networks, river networks, slope, elevation, hillshade, reserved lands and soil. The hillshade and soil variables were found to have no significant impact in the LUCC for the Auckland area, therefore they were excluded from the model. If a closed model had been used these insignificant variables would have been included. The calibration phase revealed that wetland and cropland LUC areas in Auckland have not changed between 1990 and 2000. The validated LUCC model of Auckland, served as a foundation for simulating annual LUC maps for advance modelling of Carbon Sequestration by vegetation cover. In order to test the generic nature of the workflow process model a second case study was introduced that had a different data resolution, area extent and fewer LUC transitions. Compared to Auckland, the new Rondônia case study was a simple LUCC model with only one transition, with coarse data resolution (250m) and large area extent. The evaluation of the Rondônia LUCC model also gave good result. It was then concluded that the derived workflow process model is generic and could be applied to any location.

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  • The effect of stroke rate on performance in flat-water sprint kayaking

    McDonnell, Lisa Kelly (2013-11-29)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Stroke rate has been implicated as an important determinant of sprint kayaking performance via correlation analysis. This thesis determined the effect of stroke rate on sprint kayaking performance including: (1) What stroke rates are required to achieve medal winning times?; (2) What are typical self-selected stroke rates of New Zealand paddlers?; (3) Do paddlers respond well to stroke rate feedback?; and (4) What is the effect of increasing stroke rate on performance and technique? Two literature reviews, one quantitative descriptive performance analysis, two quantitative experimental reliability studies, two quantitative experimental biomechanical studies, and one quantitative experimental intervention study were completed. Elite K1 200-m world championship medallists’ average stroke rates ranged 144-168 spm for men and 131-147 spm for women in competition. New Zealand elite paddlers (males and females) typically rated 98-101 spm, but tests were limited to 300-m sprint training at “race pace” and during the last stage of an incremental ergometer test. It was best to assess stroke rates using time-trials. The typical self-selected stroke rates of New Zealand male sub-elite paddlers were 122 ±11 spm during K1 200-m time-trials. While metronome feedback targets were not fully achieved when increasing stroke rate by 5-10 spm, the metronome was effective for increasing stroke rate by 4-5 spm (2.9-4.2%). The stroke rate increase led to a 200-m performance time enhancement of 0.9-1.0% for sub-elite paddlers, where a general trend existed that faster paddlers responded better to the stroke rate increase. Other key variables that indicated better performances were shorter water phase times, aerial phase times, entry sub-phase times and exit sub-phase times. Overall, absolute phase and sub-phase times reported in seconds were more associated with performance than relative phase and sub-phase times. Increasing stroke rate using metronome feedback also caused reductions in water and aerial phase times. Water phase times were reduced primarily by reductions in pull sub-phase times. Pull sub-phase times were not significantly associated with performance, possibly indicating variability in the efficiency of the pull phase between skill levels on-water. Key segmental sequencing variables important for inducing a stroke rate increase between intensities were shorter durations of the pull arm, trunk, and leg actions. Decreasing forward reach was inevitable and decreasing pull arm time was the most important variable for increasing stroke rate, so paddlers should focus on reaching as far forward as possible without hindering their ability to quickly direct the paddle backward. Trunk rotation and leg extension movements increased with intensity and are considered important for performance theoretically for achieving greater paddle tip velocity when the blade enters the water by utilising a greater leg pedalling motion. In conclusion, New Zealand paddlers typically rated well below the recommended stroke rates required to achieve medal winning times in the K1 200-m event. Metronome feedback was effective for eliciting an acute stroke rate increase of 4-5 spm (2.9-4.2%), which led to performance enhancements of 0.9-1.0% in K1 200-m time-trials. Further research is needed to determine the ideal training strategies for making larger increases in stroke rate without losing efficiency in the pull sub-phase.

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  • Patterns of corporeality: the grotesque text/ile body

    Trussardi, Gabriella (2013-12-04)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This practice-led research project explores the feminine abject through textile design featuring grotesque ornament and pattern. Maintaining a normative feminine identity in a Western culture involves, more likely than not, rigorous self-policing behaviours enacted to identify and eradicate signs of the corporeal self, which is seen as unfinished, vulnerable, and leaky at the margins. This encultured practice involves keeping the body contained and controlled, both physically and visually. Within a traditional Cartesian duality, boundaries are established through an oppositional politics of contrasting fluidity/solidity, irrationality/rationality, and containment/excess. Textiles are one means by which these boundaries are managed — through dress, and also through the textiles of domestic spaces: textiles that function here as a symbolic demarcation between body and world. As the conclusion to this research project I present designs for domestic textiles which, rather than clearly delimiting the leaky self from the public world, provoke experiences of fascination/repulsion in the viewer. The textiles feature pattern and decoration based on grotesque ornament. As a social, artistic, and literary category the grotesque rejects the binary of interior/exterior, instead embracing the fluid, the overflowing, and the excessive. In this thesis I link this to historic notions of women’s place and voice. The artefacts that comprise the practical component of the thesis subvert the formal language of the female nude, which is designed to smooth, control, and contain the excessive female body. They explore how the leaky and abject body can be viewed as other than polluting: namely, as belonging to a different experience of subjecthood.

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  • Jouissance & the sexual reality of the (two) unconscious

    Restivo, Gustavo Eduardo (2013-12-02)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The topic of jouissance and the sexual reality of the unconscious has been a key concern of mine from my initial years of practicing psychoanalysis in both its clinical and critical frameworks. For my PhD research, this work is significantly developed within the Freudian Field of Psychoanalysis and the Lacanian Orientation and explores, as a starting point, a broad body of literature, historical and contemporary, concerning sexual identity, jouissance and the sexual reality of the unconscious. The literature review highlights that despite considerations given to overcoming dichotomies in sexual difference there are issues unveiled in late Lacanian teaching that remain only partially addressed. Within the mainstream of Lacanian psychoanalysis, the concepts of jouissance and the sexual reality of the unconscious are generally explained in terms of the possible rapport between the subject and the concepts of the phallus, the name-of-the-father and the symptom. In contradistinction, the quilting point around everything else is organized as the phenomenon of jouissance. Regarding jouissance, sexual difference is addressed, following Lacan’s formula of sexuation, by a theory based on the difference between the all-phallic jouissance, on the side of the Man, and the not-all-phallic jouissance, on the side of the Woman. This PhD research particularly engages the different types of jouissance discussed by Lacan, specifically jouissance other than phallic jouissance, and their effects in the subject, as perceived in our clinical practice, mediated by language and by lalangue. Further to that, this research closely engages the late Lacanian thesis of the two unconscious. One reference is to the imaginary or transference-unconscious, the one that is deciphered in analysis and that implies fantasy and desire as supports of the subject’s being, the unconscious related to language and the drives. Then there is the real unconscious, linked to Lacan’s neologisms as speaking-being and lalangue. Since the unconscious has been defined as being a reality which is sexual, the two unconscious allow for a different approach to the question of the difference of the sexes. The description of the sexes in terms of symbolic constructs, as in gender studies, is clearly and paradoxically anchored in the transference-unconscious, which is in the imaginary power of language to distinguish between the anatomical sexes. Moving from Lacan’s formula “There is no sexual relationship” this work discusses Lacan’s formula, “Jouissance is not a sign of love,” emphasizing from clinical work that jouissance and love get knotted. This leads to a reflection on the thesis of Partner-Symptom and Partner-Sinthome. Given that there is no sexual relationship, the symptom or the sinthome could achieve a possible union between the discrete elements of the unconscious and jouissance. Therefore symptoms/sinthomes are placed as a substitute and become no longer the problem but the solution. The research concludes with the concept of love. Lacan underlined that an aim of psychoanalytic discourse was to produce the passage from semblance to the real, from love to jouissance. Psychoanalysis erases, then, the difference between transference and normal love, the “There is no sexual relation” assumes the status of the Real. For speaking-beings love serves as a crutch of the sexual relation. Consequently, Lacan’s central determination of the relation between love and sexuality states that love supplements the sexual relation. Regarding the relation between the real unconscious and the transference-unconscious, this research refers to the equivocal title of Lacan’s Seminar XXIV, L’insu que sait de l’unebévue s’aile à mourre, which could be read as L’insuccès de l’Unbewusste, c’est l’amour—the non-success of the unconscious is love—engaging with the question: which unconscious and which love? And, indeed, this PhD research sheds some light on how jouissance establishes the sexual reality of the (two) unconscious.

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  • Kitesurfing: action, (inter)action and mediation

    Geenen, Jarret (2013-12-02)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This thesis examines the actions, (inter)action and practices exemplified in the lifestyle sport of kitesurfing. The phenomenon of ‘lifestyle sport’ (Wheaton 2004b) has received increasing empirical attention over the past fifteen years as it has become a prevalent component within contemporary life. Drastic increases in participation, the manifestation of sporting subcultures and the growing adventure tourism industry has given impetus to various academic approaches to investigating the nature of this phenomenon. This thesis approaches the relatively newly emergent lifestyle sports of kitesurfing from a multimodal mediated theoretical (Norris 2013a) perspective. On the grounds that key characteristics of lifestyle sport are the consumption and employment of emerging technologies and participation in unbounded and luminal spaces, this thesis examines the complex and dynamic ways in which social actors act, (inter)act and employ mediational means in the undertaking of mediated action. The thesis is based on a one-year video-ethnography, as well as empirical methods and methodological notions from Multimodal (Inter)action Analysis (Norris 2004, 2011). This thesis is theoretical in nature and through the employment of ethnographic methods and audio-video analysis, I have developed multiple theoretical notions which are useful in understanding the complexities of mediated action. First, by conceptualising kitesurfing as a system of mediated action, I have found four characteristics which exemplify the system itself: 1. Systems of mediated action develop to serve socio-cultural, economic, industrial, commercial, educational, or creative functions; 2. Systems of mediated action change in direct connection with mediational means/cultural tools; 3. Systems of mediated action manifest embedded systems; and, 4. Systems of mediated action manifest some of the same actions as belonging to and/or creating different practices. Second, through developing the concept of actionary pertinence as being the primary organising component in the ways in which social actors read, interpret and valuate elements of the natural environment. I have found that social actors conceive of kitesurfing locations through the system of mediated action and resultantly, as intimately intertwined with the mediational means through which action occurs. Third, I have found that mediation is most accurately conceptualised as a property of the interrelationship between multiple interconnected mediational means. The ways in which mediational means function in the equation is always and only in relation to multiple others, therefore, it is analytically necessary to consider the complex interrelationships that manifest through mediated action. Fourth, I have used the notion of touch/response-feel (Norris 2012); and found that the actions and (inter)actions exemplified in the sport of kitesurfing are primarily characterisable as a haptic dialogic process of touch/response-feel whereby social actors co-construct and co-create more complex and temporally fleeting mediational means which are then employed in subsequent mediated actions. In doing so, social actors develop a practice of predication regarding the ways in which particular touch(es) will produce particular response-feel(s). Finally, in my discussion I articulate utility of participation as a methodological tool showing that it can provide an affective, in-the-moment and material foundation for the analysis of data while ensuring the maintenance of a localised perspective in the approach to haptic, somatic and kinesthetic phenomena.

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  • E Agatonu a Manu'a o Fesili: investigating the attitudes of an Auckland Samoan population toward the New Zealand criminal justice system

    Tunufa'i, Laumuaotumua (2013-12-03)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of Samoans to the New Zealand criminal justice system. This also involved exploring Samoan people’s process of knowledge production and how this shapes their reactions to crime. The researcher’s interest in this topic emanated from working as an interpreter in the New Zealand criminal courts and the recognition that Pacific peoples, of whom Samoan people comprise 49.3% (131,103), are over-represented in violent crime rather than total crime (Families Commission, 2009, pp. 16-17). While the 53 participants for this study from throughout the Auckland region are not representative, especially in terms of randomness, of the total New Zealand Samoan population, they do reflect certain important elements of the Samoan population in Auckland like geographic concentration, employment status, gender, age group and country of birth. The study employed a mixed method approach where a short survey was filled in individually by each participant before personal in-depth individual interviews began. In addition, two focus groups (Appendix B) were organised; one for the older youth group (18 to 25 years of age) and one for the adults group (aged over 25 years). A combination of Pacific and migrant-specific approaches like Fonofale, Talanoa, Fa’afaletui and Kakala, and mainstream methodologies like Grounded Theory and Thematic Analysis, informed the collection and analysis of participants’ ‘shared knowledge’. Theoretically, ideas from cultural criminology, labelling approaches, and general strain theory underpinned this investigation. Results of the pre-interview survey show very high support for judges, lawyers and police with judges receiving the highest support at 92% which underlines the (somewhat paradoxical) high level of respect Samoans have in relation to the criminal justice system. The thesis presents six key findings that provide deeper understandings of various aspects of Samoan attitudes to crime; 1) prisons are counter-productive to rehabilitation, 2) access to information and knowledge about the criminal justice system is of prime importance, 3) crime is permanent, 4) the notion of family is central, 5) sentencing is too light for rape and murder, and 6) the process of knowledge production for Samoan people is important. Theme number six presents the main argument that the involvement of Samoan people in criminal activities follows the same process of Samoan knowledge production that one takes in order to learn, practise and acquire a faiva – vocation. Albeit negative as it sounds, crime commission is undeniably a faiva. This finding is important in terms of understanding why Samoan people over-represent in violent crime, as well as in terms of the development of any subsequent policies and programmes that are partly informed and underpinned by cultural notions.

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  • Teachers' workplace: physical activity and sedentary behaviour

    Castillo Retamal, Marcelo E. (2013-12-06)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The high rate of global mortality due to non-communicable diseases has encouraged researchers to identify the major factors that are associated with increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other preventable disorders. Lower levels of occupational physical activity, as well as other factors associated with modern life have increased habitual sedentary behaviour, despite the efforts made by governmental and non-governmental organisations to reverse this trend. The working population spend nearly a half of their waking hours in the workplace making occupational settings an ideal environment to study physical activity and sedentary behaviours. While many occupations have been researched, primary school teachers’ workplace physical activity has not been examined. Teachers are a large occupational group with the capacity to influence children, parents and the wider community’s, medium- and long-term physical activity behaviours. The principle questions of this thesis included; Are teachers sufficiently active in their daily life? Do the teaching profession and the work environment allow teachers to be physically active? Does the work environment affect teacher’s health? Do workplace conditions affect their work productivity? Does teachers’ sedentary behaviour or physical activity influence their student’s physical activity? Therefore, the aims of this thesis were: 1) to identify aspects that facilitate or impede New Zealand primary school teachers’ involvement in physical activity; 2) to quantify physical activity and sedentary behaviour in teachers, and determine their cardiovascular health status; and 3) to determine the relationship between physical activity and sedentary behaviour of teachers and their students. A mixed methods approach (qualitative and quantitative) was employed throughout this thesis, utilising a convenient sample of 103 primary school teachers and 131 of their students from 21 schools located in a variety of socioeconomic neighbourhoods in Auckland, New Zealand. Data were collected over two weeks at each school during February-November in 2011. A qualitative approach was used to determine teachers’ perception about their workload and the barriers that exist to being physically active at school. Voice recordings of semi-structured interviews (n= 8) conducted with teachers and principals from the participating schools were transcribed and coded using a thematic analysis approach. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour of teachers and children were measured using accelerometers (activPALTM & ActiCalTM) during 24 hours of monitoring on five consecutive days. Teachers self-reported their occupational, sport and leisure time physical activity using the Habitual Physical Activity Questionnaire and teachers’ productivity was self-assessed using the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire. Teachers’ cardiovascular health-status was determined from blood pressure, heart rate, anthropometric measures, demographic data and blood cholesterol, triglyceride and plasma glucose samples. The relationship between active and sedentary behaviour of the teachers and their student’s time-matched (63-pairs of data) accelerometer-measured physical activity were also analysed. The results of this thesis indicated that primary school teachers were more active at work than during out-of-work hours (65% of the energy expenditure was accumulated at work) and 57% of their time at work was spent sitting. In our sample, teachers were sufficiently physically active during school time to accumulate 30 min of moderate-vigorous activity daily. Teachers’ cardiovascular health indicators appeared normal and predicted a low risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years (<3%). Teachers with the lowest cardiovascular risk were those that were both more physically active and also interrupted their sedentary behaviour more than four times an hour throughout the day. Although no significant relationship between active and sedentary behaviours of teachers and their students was found, there was a trend for students of more active teachers to be more physically active and spend less time in sedentary behaviour than students of more sedentary teachers. Using thematic analysis of written transcripts of the principals and teachers interviews it was determined that the two major barriers to teachers not engaging in physical activity at work were lack of time and high workload. Other factors such as weather, classroom space, and the number of children in each classroom, were also identified as barriers to engaging in workplace physical activity. In conclusion, the work environment in New Zealand primary schools provided an opportunity for teachers to accumulate sufficient physically activity during school time to achieve the minimum daily moderate-vigorous activity recommendation. It is recommended however, that sedentary behaviour be interrupted more than four times an hour throughout the day to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among teachers. Further evidence is required to substantiate the recommendation of interrupting sedentary behaviour in the workplace.

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  • Health of Pacific children in New Zealand: association between selected elements, behaviour and body-size

    Karatela, Shamshad (2013-10-10)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    In childhood environmental and dietary exposure to toxic and non-toxic elements may affect development and growth. The elemental concentrations of scalp hair and toenails may reflect chemical uptake via the diet, or environment. Very little is known about the relationship between elemental concentrations in scalp hair and toenails and behavioural and growth characteristics of children in New Zealand. The Pacific Islands Families (PIF) study has provided a unique opportunity for children of age six and nine years to explore such relationships. The overall aim of this research was to collect and analyse the scalp hair and toenails of Pacific children (and in some cases from their mothers) resident in South Auckland, New Zealand (as part of the PIF population study) for calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, cobalt, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, antimony, arsenic, aluminium, boron, mercury, lead and cadmium. Three questions were addressed: (1) what is the relationship between mercury in scalp hair, reported to originate from fish consumption to behavioural problems; (2) what is the relationship between mercury in toenails and behavioural characteristics and specific behavioural domains (particularly aggression, rule breaking, attention and social problems); and (3) in a population where three out of four children are defined as obese or overweight is there any relationship between elemental concentration in toenails and current body-size? The first study was a nested case-control study which recruited children (with and without behavioural problems) and their mothers to study the effects of mercury through seafood diet and dental amalgams on child behaviour. Hair samples were collected from both mothers and their children as a biomarker for mercury exposure. The second and third studies were cross-sectional studies designed to explore the association of elements on behavioural problems as identified by mothers (using the child behaviour checklist) and body-size categories (using the International Obesity Task Force’s (IOTF) cut-off points). Toenail clippings were collected as a biomarker for elemental assessment for these studies. The biological measurements (scalp hair and toenail) were carried out using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP MS). The existing multi-disciplinary, longitudinal PIF information provided additional data on confounding factors and co-variants on these samples. In the first study (n=92 mother and child pairs), almost 20% of both mothers (median hair: 0.32 µg/g mercury) and 18% of children (median hair: 0.43 µg/g mercury) exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) threshold for mercury of 1 µg/g Hg but were lower than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) threshold of 1.6 µg/g Hg. There was no conclusive evidence on child behavioural problems and hair mercury concentrations. A direct correlation was observed between mothers and their children's hair mercury concentrations (r = 0.79 (95% CI 0.65, 0.88). In the next study (n=278 children; 160 boys, 118 girls), 21% of children had toenail mercury concentrations above 1 µg/g Hg with girls having higher mercury concentrations (24%) than boys (18%). Aggressive behaviour and seafood diet was associated with toenail mercury exposure after adjusting for gender, ethnicity and income levels (OR: 2.15 95% CI 1.45, 3.18 p-value< 0.05; OR 1.38 95% CI 0.83, 1.2 p value <0.05, respectively). Within the final study, three out of four children were defined as obese or overweight; however, no significant correlation was found between body-size categories and toenail elemental concentrations. The elemental interaction of selenium-mercury and zinc-copper had an association with the different body-size categories (p value 0.03; and p value 0.02, respectively). It was observed that the mean toenail selenium (0.35 µg/g Se), calcium (868 µg/g Ca) and zinc (129 µg/g Zn) concentrations were lower than the required optimal health concentrations for toenails (selenium 0.75 µg/g Se; calcium 900 µg/g Ca; zinc 160 µg/g Zn) amongst these children. Toenail mean lead (0.86 µg/g Pb), cadmium (0.21 µg/g Cd) and mercury (0.72 µg/g Hg) concentrations were also higher than the optimal health requirements. Ethnic differences in relation to toenail elemental concentrations were observed for manganese, cobalt, iron, chromium, antimony, aluminium, mercury, lead and cadmium. Boys had higher concentrations for calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron, antimony arsenic, aluminium, boron and lead than girls. Toenail clippings are a better biomarker for elemental status within Pacific people than scalp hair samples. Overall, this research contributes to the understanding of the elemental concentrations for Pacific people using scalp hair and toenail clippings as biomarkers in terms of associations with health outcomes (particularly child behavioural problems and body-size categories). Mercury in toenails demonstrated a moderate association with a specific behavioural domain – aggressive behaviour – while elemental interactions such as zinc-copper and mercury-selenium seemed to influence the body-size categories in these children even though single elements did not show any associations on body-size categories. Furthermore, some possible explanations for both the conclusive and inconclusive results that have so far emerged, and suggestions for potential ways forward in this area of research are discussed.

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  • Between the margin and the text: He Kanohi ke to te Pakeha - Maori

    Forsyth, Huhana (2013-06-06)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This thesis applies the theory of Transculturalization to examine Pākehā-Māori within current New Zealand contexts, how they see themselves, where they position themselves in relation to society, and what meaning they make of events that have shaped them. The study undertaken uses Transculturalization Theory in order to understand individuals who choose to cross cultures, and focuses on European New Zealanders who engage with te ao Māori. The topic has connections to many disciplines and to a range of theoretical perspectives, but is predominated by the theory of Transculturalization which was developed by an American anthropologist, Irving Hallowell, in 1963 as a theory to study the phenomena of what he termed ‘Indianization’, that is, individuals who consciously chose to cross cultures and live amongst the Native American Indians. This study conducted explores the experiences of five individuals who are moving between te ao Māori (Māori world view) and te ao Pākehā (European world view). The role of Pākehā-Māori in New Zealand in the nineteenth century is discussed in relation to the socio-historical context of the time, and Transculturalization Theory is used to analyse the narrative voice of the five individuals who could be named Pākehā-Māori within current contexts. The experiences of these individuals are examined through their stories of engagement with te ao Māori and the findings consider the participants’ self perceptions in terms of their social and cultural positioning. The theory of Transculturalization is used to examine commonalities in the participants’ experiences, with relation to factors identified by Hallowell as significant in the process of transculturalization. In doing so, the study further develops the theory for application in current contexts.

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  • Re-working disability: a Foucauldian discourse analysis of vocational rehabilitation in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Fadyl, Joanna Kristin (2013-06-12)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Vocational rehabilitation is a social practice that is focused on enabling people to overcome disability so that they can work. It involves many, sometimes diverse, strategies and programmes to achieve this aim, which have changed over time. The current importance of vocational rehabilitation as a practice within governmental agendas in Aotearoa New Zealand, and in many other countries around the world, has been demonstrated in recent policies and reports emphasising an imperative that disabled people are enabled to obtain work in order to achieve equality and maintain social systems. Ability to work has been associated with health and wellbeing, and scientific studies showing that unemployment is associated with poor health, and that disabled individuals want a 'normal' life, are often cited to underline the importance of vocational rehabilitation. However, while these ideas are widely accepted, they are not without challenges. There is a growing body of literature indicating that there continue to be difficulties in achieving the aims that vocational rehabilitation exists to deliver, and highlighting that rehabilitation practices have (often unintended) effects in addition to their specific aims — such as reproducing dominant notions of disability and normality. The aim of this inquiry was to open up the practice of vocational rehabilitation to examination. The study considers the social and political conditions of possibility for the emergence and continuation of vocational rehabilitation in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the effects of the systems of thought and action that come within its scope. The study I outline in this thesis is a discourse analysis of the practice of vocational rehabilitation in Aotearoa New Zealand, applying the philosophical and theoretical work of Michel Foucault. To do this, I gathered and analysed a wide range of texts associated with vocational rehabilitation practices: including policy documents, images, letters, reports, meeting minutes, position statements, brochures, training materials, advertising (to give some examples). The gathered texts focused on three identified series of events, associated with specified historical shifts in vocational rehabilitation practices, as well as current vocational rehabilitation practices. The analysis involved applying Foucauldian methodological principles and theoretical concepts to these texts. The application of theory drew on concepts within Foucauldian scholarship that were particularly pertinent to the topic area, focusing on notions of 'governmentality' and 'bio-politics'. The contribution of this study lies in highlighting and questioning ideas that have become self-evident in vocational rehabilitation practices, and making more visible aspects that may affect future directions. It shows historical conditions of possibility for the emergence and continuation of vocational rehabilitation as a social practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, and points to emerging trends in this field that present opportunities and dangers. Vocational rehabilitation is analysed as a governmental practice, with processes constructed within historically and culturally specific notions of economic systems, 'normal life' and 'disabilty'. These processes both utilise and (re)produce dominant ideas about what constitutes work and disability. Furthermore, I identify a move in some recent practices towards a normalisation of disability itself, which has the potential to considerably shift the focus of vocational rehabilitation.

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  • Performance Test Labour

    Harvey, Mark Robert Gordon (2011-09-07)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Performance: Test: Labour is a practice-led PhD research project that systematically engages the fields of performance art and dance choreography. The research aims to offer new perspectives on the international field of choreography through its negotiations between performance art and dance choreography. The research methodology has been developed across a number of critical approaches in relation to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Research methods have been particularly developed through a close reading of Avital Ronell’s The Test Drive, a work concerned with a Nietzschean understanding of experimentation. Nietzsche’s concept of playing the fool plays an essential role in this. Within this engagement with the test-subject, the research has drawn from an autobiography of the artist’s bio-political engagements with performance art and dance choreography. This autobiographical perspective has itself been informed by Michel Foucault’s engagements with Nietzsche’s understanding of genealogy. In this sense the thesis examines how specific genealogies of choreographic discourse in performance art and dance have served to contextualize this practice. Key artists in a performance art genealogy for this practice include Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, bas Jan Ader and William Pope L. Artists from a dance choreography genealogy include Yvonne Rainer, Pina Bausch, Jerome Bel, Xavier Le Roy, and La Ribot. Jacques Derrida’s Nietzschean perspective of “otobiographies,” on the essential otherness of the autobiographical, has also informed this process of choreographic testing in terms of how these fields have been constructed via ‘the other’ in the artist’s practice. This perspective has also been informed by Judith Butler’s reading of performativity in terms of interpellation and normativity. This test-practice has especially involved the artist performing choreographed solo minimal endurance actions, that include repetition and spoken text, drawing attention to the processes of choreographing, through the lineages of performance art and dance choreography. These lineages are encountered in relation to the role of the ‘other’. Through performative strategies of repetitions of bodily actions in relation to text, this research at first appears to propose that physical labour can be recognised as the primary aspect in making ‘conceptual choreography’ that Bojana Cvejic refers to as ‘conceptual dance’. Such an approach differs from Cvejic, alluding to how this current genre of choreography does not focus on the role of physical labour. The core discovery of this project is how idiocy can be uncovered through an engagement in choreographic practice, in relation to concepts such as Giorgio Agamben’s bare life, to the degree that neither ‘labour’ nor ‘conceptualising’ can take precedence in practice. The research also creates new conditions of possibility for an understanding of labour as an alternative approach to Andre Lepecki’s questioning of the role of the physical body in choreography, in his call for ‘ontological still acts.’ Further contribution of this research is in its play with audience repair. In summary, Performance: Test: Labour, in its negotiations of the relations between performance art and dance choreography develops an original understanding of idiocy in terms of the physical and the conceptual as these notions have been utilized, deployed and related in performance research and practice.

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  • The moral pathway: toward the stranger in the life and thought of John Wesley

    Duncan, Michael Ian (2013-11-15)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, presents a robust and clearly articulated pathway for those who wish to come alongside neighbours, and others we might consider strangers, in a process that can impact and transform both parties. Wesley’s daily practice was to engage with those who were not within his immediate circle and to make an effort to build relationships with those who might otherwise have been considered outsiders or unwelcome. Through his actions and his wide corpus of diaries, sermons and other writings, he documented his journey and put a framework around his beliefs and practices so that others could also engage with strangers in their midst. Wesley hoped to nurture a people who loved God and loved others. A close reading of Wesley’s corpus gives a method or way to become emboldened and enabled along this ‘moral pathway’ of connecting with those outside of our comfort zone. Wesley names four enabling dimensions: doctrine, experience, discipline and practice. Doctrine has to do with the story of Christian Scripture and the promises embedded in that story, specifically about human maturation. Experience concerns the heart and its emotions and how these can be so affected by Scripture that a person becomes reoriented toward the stranger. Discipline encapsulates the organisational dimension which directs and sustains human transformation. Finally practice enlightens us to the practical duties involved in loving neighbour and stranger that turn theory into reality. Wesley’s four dimensions form a moral pathway consisting of six ‘ortho’ strands. Doctrine equates to orthodoxy and experience to orthokardia. Orthopaideia expresses discipline and is further broken down into orthokoinonia and orthonomos. The equivalent of practice is orthopraxy. When all six “orthos” or strands are finely woven together, they form a moral pathway. It was this pathway that compelled Wesley and his Methodists to reach out the hand of fellowship and compassion toward strangers. Wesley’s ideas go beyond contemporary perceptions of a three-stranded cord of orthodoxy, orthokardia and orthopraxy; instead, they suggest a cord of six strands, also including orthopaideia, orthokoinonia and orthonomos. Only this strengthened cord can properly communicate Wesley’s intent and method to those who would walk toward strangers in their midst.

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  • Sensor Network Embedded Intelligence: human comfort ambient intelligence

    Mohamed Rawi, Mohd Izani (2013-11-08)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This study explored the multidiscipline domain of the Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) and Ambient Intelligence (AmI) in addressing the problem of the comfort of a living space. This thesis addresses the potential for embedding an intelligent engine into WSN and the aggregation of multiple comfort factors in a living space. The four most important comfort factors for humans are taken into account. These are thermal comfort, visual comfort, indoor air comfort and acoustical comfort. This thesis introduces a WSN based embedded intelligent system architecture and a system framework for a living space’s comfort level. Human Comfort Ambient Intelligence System (HCAmI) architecture is presented. The HCAmI key component encompasses a flexible generic distributed fuzzy engine embedded within WSN nodes. The engine serves as a key knowledge component in solving specific human comfort requirements. With the proliferation of pervasive computing, there is an increasing demand for the inclusion of WSN in wider areas such as buildings, living space, system automation and much more. Focusing on buildings and living space alone, multitudinous studies have been made of environmental comfort for occupants. A smart environment and low energy homes are amongst the driving forces behind this research. Also, WSN research has been progressing well and expanding into various aspects of life such as support of the elderly, environmental senor, security and much more. Unfortunately, separate studies have been conducted in their own discipline focusing on specific issues and challenges. Little attention has been paid to putting it together under one roof. Lack of interdisciplinary research inspired this effort to unite these unconnected research domains. This has acted as the key motivational catalyst. The motivation behind combining these effects brings us to the specific issue of the human comfort realm that prompted this study. Human comfort deals with providing a comfortable and healthy place for people to live. Hence, in a living space, other than good design and construction, it is essential to monitor and maintain the modifiable environment such as temperature, lighting, humidity, noise, air quality and psychological factors. Functional environmental comfort system adaptability and the WSN system determination to solve the problem is a fascinating issue that certainly warranted further investigation. The HCAmI concept was designed and implemented based on a knowledge based architecture and framework. This approach addressed the component level first, catering for the four key human comfort factors. The system level design was then looked at. Each individual component was subjected to simulated and real sensor data and tested against a corresponding model built using appropriate tools such as the MATLAB Simulink and Sun SPOT Solarium WSN simulator. The HCAmI System was used to collect raw data from 20/04/2010 to 26/08/2010 (four months of data) in the SeNSe Laboratory, School of Engineering. A short snapshot of the collected data (from 08:00am 25/08/2010 to 11:40am 26/08/2010) is presented as a case study. The main achievement / contribution of this thesis is a distributed fuzzy logic based wireless sensor node in the human comfort realm. The framework, architecture and development of an integrated human comfort concept could be embedded in a wireless sensor network environment. The modular architecture and framework presented here highlights the flexibility and integrated approach of the design. The knowledge component of each comfort area can be changed easily and adding or removing comfort components is catered for as well. Overall, this thesis adds to the WSN body of knowledge in an embedded distributed generic fuzzy engine, thermal comfort engine, spatial sensing engine, human comfort index engine, application layer communication protocol and specific external sensor driver development and interface for Sun SPOT WSN.

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  • The disconnected church: a critical examination of the communication of the Christian church in New Zealand

    Crudge, Michael Robert (Mike) (2013-11-19)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The purpose of my research is to investigate if and why some people outside of the church do not see relevance in the church, and to investigate if and why the church does not see relevance in the point of view of these people outside of the church. This research project will explore the possibility that this is an instance of two separate groups of people who think they have the same concept in mind when they use the word “church” but may in fact hold entirely different ideas about what “church” is. In other words this research investigates the issues around communication and the church, and is therefore situated in the communication problem. My research is based on the proposition that the Christian church in New Zealand is maladapted to contemporary society. By maladaptation I mean, specifically, that the church is failing to meet its own claim to be relevant, is failing to connect individual’s spirituality with their profane daily lives, and exhibits a diminishing capacity to manifest good in the world. The purpose of this research is to use basic communication theory as the lens to identify and then prove this maladaptation, by first, in stage 1, seeking to discover how some people outside the church perceive the church. I let the framework of critical studies guide my use of qualitative data gathering through in-depth semi-structured interviewing of people who have never had anything to do with the church, people I define as not being Christianised. In order to narrow down my sample group, I interviewed people who self-defined themselves as being spiritual. Through the process of thematic analysis nine “perceptions” of the church were uncovered, which were overwhelmingly negative. In stage 2, I presented these nine perceptions to a selection of church leaders through the process of focus groups, in order to discover their reaction to how some people outside of the church perceive the church. This identified a massive gap, or disconnect, in the way the people in each of these two research stages view themselves and each other. The church representatives in stage 2 expose strong ingroup tendencies which may be negatively affecting the communication and work of the church. They also expressed the difficulty they face as they identify as Christians in New Zealand. I suggest two new labels to define the church and its communication (mission) connection within society: firstly, the “disconnected church” which through its modus operandi fosters the historical connection to the past era and attitude I define as Christendom. A disconnected church (and disconnected Christians) struggle with the realities of how hard it actually is to be Christian, but they do not embrace the fact that many of the difficulties experienced through a negative response from society might actually be the result of how the church and Christians are being Christian. My second new label is the “connected church”, which describes a church through which its modus operandi shows evidence of understanding and appreciation of the current context it finds itself in. It therefore lives with the tension of both holding cultural change loosely enough to be able to evolve with changes such as leadership structures, community values, and philosophical influences such as post-modernity, as well as retaining theological and spiritual integrity in the essence of being Christian.

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  • Antecedents of Collaborative Networked Learning in Manufacturing

    Quik, Wee Hock (Danny) (2013-11-14)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This study aims to investigate the antecedents of collaborative networked learning (hereafter CNL), to develop an integrative CNL framework and to bridge the gap between theory and praxis in manufacturing. Although collaborative learning has been at the forefront of educational and pedagogical studies, there is a lack of research in the mainstream of operations management and information systems. This study explores the antecedents of CNL and the sharing of information among diverse employees within the context of manufacturing industries in Malaysia. The study further extends the boundary of networked learning beyond internal enterprises to include suppliers, customers and external stakeholders. To provide a holistic perspective of CNL within the complexity of the manufacturing environment required a mixed-method research approach, including empirical investigation using survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The qualitative findings from the interviews were corroborated with a 246 quantitative survey of multinational companies (MNCs) and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia. SPSS software was used for statistical analysis and NVivo for content analysis. The findings and discussions draw upon socio-technical systems (STS) theory, and present the theoretical context and interpretations through the lens of manufacturing employees. Results of the study show the existence of significant positive influences of organizational support, promotive interactions, positive interdependence, internal-external learning, perceived effectiveness and perceived usefulness of CNL among manufacturing employees. The study further provides insights into information sharing and collaboration within MNCs and SMEs. Although employees in MNCs are more engaged in CNL compared to SMEs, a general consensus is found on the importance of collaborative technologies, the usage of online meetings and shared databases. The study offers a basis for empirical validity for measuring CNL in organizational learning, knowledge and information sharing in manufacturing.

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  • Integrating culture into Vietnamese University EFL Teaching: a critical ethnographic study

    Nguyen, Thanh Long (2013-11-25)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Globalisation and its resulting economic, technological, social and educational transformations have led to an increased need for the development of intercultural competence in education (Scarino, 2009). This ability to communicate across cultural boundaries and mediate between cultures should be an important goal of language education (Byram, 1997, 2009). To address intercultural competence, culture must be explicitly taught as a central element and integrated with the teaching of language (Crozet & Liddicoat, 1999, 2000; Liddicoat, 2002; Newton & Shearn, 2010b). However, language teaching in many places around the world has not yet fully realised this integration. This study examines how Vietnamese university EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers integrate culture into their language teaching. It aims to socially construct knowledge about Vietnamese university EFL teachers’ integration of culture into their language teaching. It also aims to propose suggestions for positive changes to be made regarding this integration for the development of learners’ intercultural competence. The study has a critical ethnographic design, all levels of which are theoretically underpinned by social constructionism. Participating in this study were 15 EFL teachers from a university in North Vietnam. I collected data from the following main sources: semi-structured interviews with participants (totally 25), classroom observations (totally 30), field notes, and documentation in the form of the teaching materials used in the observed classes. I applied thematic analysis (Boyatzis, 1998; Gibson & Brown, 2009) to the data set. The findings indicated that the participants, though having a deep and comprehensive view of culture, had fairly limited goals in addressing culture in their language teaching practices. Their culture teaching activities prioritised the provision of cultural knowledge rather than the development of other components of intercultural competence (e.g., intercultural skills and awareness). Such activities were largely dependent on the cultural content presented in their prescribed teaching materials. The study also found that Vietnamese EFL teachers did not receive necessary support from their teacher professional development programmes regarding teachers’ intercultural competence, nor pedagogical knowledge related to the teaching and assessing of intercultural competence. Through these findings, the study has also provided implications for teachers and language education policy makers to improve EFL teaching that aims for the development of learners’ intercultural competence.

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  • Being Muslim and doing Islam: narratives that shape the physical activity of Muslim women in New Zealand

    Ali, Nargis (2013-11-21)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Muslim women in New Zealand form an ethnic and religious minority. Research related to the physical activity levels of these women and their health status is sparse, particularly in the New Zealand context. International literature shows Muslim women are at risk of various diseases related to inactivity. Islam is perceived by many Muslims as a way of life that influences almost all aspects of their lives. Particular understandings of Islam and women’s roles within Islam influence the norms and expectations about health beliefs and physical activity. This study explores the role religion plays in shaping the physical activity of Muslim women in New Zealand. Using a postpositive narrative approach, this study explores some New Zealand Muslim women’s narratives regarding engagement in physical activity and how their identification as Muslim women influences their engagement. In this study fifteen Muslim women told their stories about the meaning they attributed to Islam and to physical activity. The women belonged to diverse backgrounds, marital status (married, divorced or unmarried), employment, educational qualifications, ethnicities and cultures. The age of the women ranged between twenty and sixty-two years. The meanings the women brought to the consideration of religion and physical activity reflected the complexity of this issue and highlighted the interwoven nature of religious identity, health beliefs and physical activity. These women’s narratives showed that there were two distinct ways in which Islam was conceptualised by the women, which I identified as “being Muslim” and “doing Islam”; both groups of women showed different ways of relating to Islam and to physical activity. The meanings the Muslim women in the study gave to physical activity also depended on the level of their assimilation into New Zealand society, and the way in which they situated themselves and their culture in relation to mainstream culture. The “being Muslim” women’s narratives showed that physical activity was acceptable as long as it conformed to their beliefs about Islamic practices. However, “true” Islamic practices and beliefs were often conflated with cultural ones, forming a complex and sometimes contradictory belief system. The women “doing Islam” displayed a more flexible approach to Islamic practices than the “being Muslim” women and identified with a secular interpretation of the religion. These women found it easier to assimilate into the sporty culture of New Zealand and had developed social networks through their sporting activities. The findings of this study have contributed towards the development of a culturally appropriate model to enable the uptake of physical activity among Muslim women in New Zealand. The intended audiences of the research findings are Muslim women in New Zealand, policy-makers and healthcare practitioners who work with Muslim women. The thesis concludes with recognising that not all voices of Muslim women in New Zealand were included in the study, and that the model proposed to increase physical activity needs robust discussion with key stakeholders before its applicability to the Muslim community and to health practitioners can be put into practice.

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