2,390 results for Thesis, ResearchCommons@Waikato

  • Evaluation of composite laminates interleaved with nanofibre and microfibre veils

    Collins-Gargan, Rosalie (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The research covered in this thesis aimed to investigate the use of nanofibre and microfibre veils in carbon fibre reinforced composites and assessed the potential of the veils to improve damage resistance during impact and fatigue loading. It was hypothesised that the interleavings would increase the amount of energy required for crack propagation because of toughening due to fibre reinforcement mechanisms such as crack deflection, fibre pull out and fibre breakage. The work was undertaken as a combined project between the University of Waikato (Hamilton, New Zealand) and Revolution Fibres Ltd (Auckland, New Zealand). During this investigation, six thermoplastic polymers were chosen (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA), polystyrene (PS), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC)) that could potentially be used for the electrospinning of polymer nanofibre veils. Nanofibre veils were successfully produced from PMMA, and a polymer blend of polyamide 6,6 (PA6,6) and PMMA, (referred to as 'nanoNyplex'). These veils, along with three other nanofibre veils (nanoPA6,6, poly vinyl butyral (nanoPVB), and poly ether sulfone (nanoPES)), three microfibre veils (polyphenylene sulfide (microPPS), polyetherimide (microPEI), and woven polyamide 6 (microtricot)) procured from other manufacturers, and three veils combining one of the nanofibre veils with each of the microfibre veils (microPPSnanoPA6,6, microPEInanoPA6,6, and microtricotnanoPA6,6) were then used as interleaves in the manufacture of carbon fibre reinforced epoxy composite panels. Interleaves were placed between every ply of prepreg. After curing the panels, test specimens were created to assess fatigue, vibration damping and compression after impact performance. From the vibration damping study, it was found that the nanoNyplex interleaving improved damping the most. It was thought that energy dissipation was due friction brought about by the movement of the interleaving fibres in the matrix, resulting in friction due to weak adhesion between the nanoNyplex fibres and the epoxy matrix. From the compression after impact (CAI) section of this study, it was found that specimens interleaved with nanoPA6,6, microPPS and microPPSnanoPA6,6 had the highest CAI strengths. From optical inspection, it appeared (in general) that as the CAI strength of the specimen increased, the length of the damage region also increased. However, those identified with the highest CAI strengths had shorter damage regions. From the fatigue section of this study, it was found that the use of most interleavings, (apart from microtricot) increased the number of cycles to failure. Post fatigue test scanning electron microscopy confirmed that crack deflection was present for most interleaved specimens. Some evidence of pull out and breakage of the interleaving fibres was seen on the fracture surfaces of the nanoPA6,6, microPPS, microPEI, microPEInanoPA6,6 and microPPSnanoPA6,6 interleaved specimens. For both CAI and fatigue, it was found that improvement was generally greater with veils that had a large number of fibres per unit area and high adhesion strength with the matrix. However, for CAI it seems that high fracture toughness was also desirable.

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  • Credit loss dynamics in Australasian banking

    Hess, Kurt

    Thesis
    University of Waikato

    The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the drivers and dynamics of credit losses in Australasian banking over an extended period of time in order to improve the means by which financial institutions manage their credit risks and regulatory bodies safeguard the stability and integrity of the financial system. The analysis is based on a specially constructed data base of credit loss and provisioning data retrieved from original financial reports published by Australian and New Zealand banks. The observation period covers 1980 to 2005, starting at the time when such information was published for the first time in bank financial statements. It moreover covers the time of major crises which occurred in both Australia and New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The heterogeneity of reporting the data both amongst banks and through time requires the development of a reporting typology which allows data extraction with equivalent informational content. As a thorough study of credit risks requires long data series often not available from third party data providers, the method developed here will provide value to a range of researchers. Based on an evaluation of many alternative proxies which track a bank's credit loss experience (CLE), the thesis proposes a preferred model for impaired assets expense (as % of loans) as dependent variable, mainly because of its timely nature and good data availability. Explanatory variables include aggregate macro variables of which changes in unemployment and the return in the share markets are found to have the most significant influence on a bank's credit losses. Bank-specific control variables include a pre-provision earnings proxy whose significance points to the use of provisions for the purpose of income smoothing by Australasian banks. The model also controls for size and nature of lending as smaller, retail-oriented housing lenders, on average, exhibit lower loan losses. Clear results are found with regard to the effect of rapid expansion which appears to be followed by a surge of bad debt provisions 2 to 3 years later. Moreover, inefficient banks tend to suffer greater credit losses. An important part of the thesis looks at the characteristics of alternative CLE proxies such as stock of provisions, impaired assets and write-offs which have been used by earlier literature. Estimating the preferred model with such alternative CLE parameters confirms their peculiarities such as the memory character of stock of provisions and the delayed nature of write-offs. These measures correlate rather poorly amongst themselves which calls for caution in the comparative interpretation of earlier studies that use differing CLE proxies.

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  • Stigma: You do your time, you come out and do more: A phenomenological analysis of the experiences of stigma as lived by ex-prisoners.

    MacLennan, Brigitte Amber (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis explores the phenomena of stigma and its effects upon offenders who have spent time in prison. There has been a long history of stigma attached to those who have engaged in criminal activity. As far back as the late 1800's it was concluded that a criminal could be identified by their physical facial features alone. While it is no longer common to stigmatise offenders based on the distance between a person’s eyes, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to having been in prison which can prevent offenders from living a pro-social life. There is little research in this area, particularly within the New Zealand context. This thesis uses phenomenological research to engage with the participants in order to gain an understanding of their lived experiences with stigma. Interviews were conducted to explore this phenomenon. Allowing offenders who have served time in prison to have their experiences heard has potential implications for policy makers with regards to release conditions and also for services that are run in prisons. Making successful transitions from prison living to living a pro-social life has benefits for not only the offender, but the community in which they are residing as a whole.

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  • Electric Vehicles in New Zealand - Policy, Regulation and Technical Standards for Emerging Vehicle Technology

    Schafer, Mark Gerald (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The need for a technical standard for the conversion of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles to electric drive has been identified by government regulators in New Zealand (NZ). The aim of this project was to review the technical and inspection requirements that would allow Electric Vehicle (EV) conversions of passenger vehicles of gross weight < 3500 kg (Class MA), to be safely designed, built, sold, and operated in NZ. A detailed description of the spectrum of EV technology is given. A literature review of NZ and international transport regulations and technical standards has shown many requirements affecting EVs. A risk analysis showed that most EV technological risks related to electrical, battery and braking safety are controlled by implementing a reduction in risk event likelihood, rather than a reduction in risk event severity. This indicates that risk controls need to be reliable in order to be effective. A detailed review of EV electrical systems, Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery systems and regenerative braking technology is also carried out. With the use of battery chemistries and designs which minimise the risk of failures, coupled with adequate safeguards in the form of redundant protection and well designed component management systems, EV converters can achieve safe and high performance conversions.

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  • Establishment of THP-1 Monocytes with Compromised Mitochondrial Functions

    Chou, Tzu-wen Joy (2009)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The process of inflammation is important for both normal health and in a number of diseases, such as metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondria are vital for the functioning of all cells. It had been implicated as a key player in inflammatory processes, especially through reactive oxygen species as signals of various immune responses. This study aimed to establish a THP-1 cell line with compromised mitochondrial functions, using antimycin A as a Complex III inhibitor, and to investigate the role of mitochondrial stress, as monitored by the expression of Hsp60, in inflammatory processes. High concentrations of antimycin A (100 and 200 μM) were cytotoxic to THP-1 monocytes that they were rapidly killed within 48 hours of exposure. Lower concentrations of antimycin A (5, 10, 25 and 50 μM) gave growth inhibition effects to THP-1 monocytes. Pyruvate and uridine were used with an intention of rescuing the THP-1 cell growth at lower antimycin A concentrations. The THP-1 monocytes treated with antimycin A with uridine and pyruvate showed more growth compared to the ones without uridine and pyruvate supplement. Yet this difference is insignificant statistically. The expressions of Hsp60 and TNF-α at the mRNA level was monitored using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Hsp60 expression from THP-1 monocytes only showed some minor fluctuations in different antimycin A concentrations, regardless of uridine and iii pyruvate supplement, indicating the stress mitochondrial response was unobvious. On the other hand, TNF-α expression was dramatically down-regulated in THP-1 monocytes treated with antimycin A only compared to the untreated control and ones supplemented with uridine and pyruvate. These results suggest that antimycin A may have inhibition effect towards TNF-α expression, and uridine and pyruvate could also have other functions in THP-1 monocytes apart from redox rescue compounds. Yet the mitochondrial stress response shown by Hsp60 induction still remains to be further investigated.

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  • Pervasive Personal Information Spaces

    Krishnan, Aparna (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Each user’s electronic information-interaction uniquely matches their information behaviour, activities and work context. In the ubiquitous computing environment, this information-interaction and the underlying personal information is distributed across multiple personal devices. This thesis investigates the idea of Pervasive Personal Information Spaces for improving ubiquitous personal information-interaction. Pervasive Personal Information Spaces integrate information distributed across multiple personal devices to support anytime-anywhere access to an individual’s information. This information is then visualised through context-based, flexible views that are personalised through user activities, diverse annotations and spontaneous information associations. The Spaces model embodies the characteristics of Pervasive Personal Information Spaces, which emphasise integration of the user’s information space, automation and communication, and flexible views. The model forms the basis for InfoMesh, an example implementation developed for desktops, laptops and PDAs. The design of the system was supported by a tool developed during the research called activity snaps that captures realistic user activity information for aiding the design and evaluation of interactive systems. User evaluation of InfoMesh elicited a positive response from participants for the ideas underlying Pervasive Personal Information Spaces, especially for carrying out work naturally and visualising, interpreting and retrieving information according to personalised contexts, associations and annotations. The user studies supported the research hypothesis, revealing that context-based flexible views may indeed provide better contextual, ubiquitous access and visualisation of information than current-day systems.

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  • Organomanganese compounds in organic synthesis

    Prasad, Narendra Jai (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis describes the preparation and reactions of some cyclomanganated chalcones, dienones and aryl ketones. Investigation has previously been undertaken into the reaction of cyclomanganated chalcones and dienones with alkynes to give both pyranyl and cycloheptadienyl Mn(CO)₃ complexes. In the current study, the reaction was further investigated with a cyclomanganated dienone derived from a cyclic ketone which gave only the (pyranyl)Mn(CO)₃ complex (2-6) and not the cycloheptadienyl product as consistent with a mechanism previously proposed. Also extended in the current study was previous work involving the methylmanganese pentacarbonyl-mediated transformation of enynes to cyclopropanated bicyclic compounds and cyclopentanes bearing an exocyclic double bond. In the current study, benzylmanganese pentacarbonyl was used instead of methylmanganese pentacarbonyl under similar conditions. In the current study however, the type of product that formed in diethyl ether (3-4) was the one dominant in acetonitrile in the MeMn(CO)₅ study, and that formed in acetonitrile (3-5) was the dominant product type in diethyl ether (3-4). There was no apparent explanation for this reverse reactivity. Ferrocenyl pyrylium salts of the type 5-5 have been prepared using a new route to ferrocenyl pyrylium from cyclomanganated chalcones and ferrocenylethyne. UV-visible and electrochemical properties of the pyrylium salts have been investigated. The ferrocenyl pyrylium salt (5-5) was obtained by the oxidation of [2-ferrocenyl-4,6-diphenyl-ɳ₅]-pyranyltricarbonylmanganese (5-6). The crystal structure of 5-6 was also determined.

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  • Correlates of Tertiary Student Life Satisfaction

    Raman, Jerode R (2010)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    What determines life satisfaction for young people? Many studies have looked at factors that correlate with an individual’s level of life satisfaction however the vast majority of those studies focused on elderly populations. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships of a number of research variables with life satisfaction for a tertiary student population. The relationships would be determined by correlating the research variables with life satisfaction. General intelligence, romantic relationship, academic goals, academic performance, health status, religiosity and social contact were measured, and correlated with life satisfaction. The sample in the current study comprised 129 undergraduate students from the University of Waikato. It was found that general intelligence, religiosity and social contact did not have any significant correlations with any of the other research variables, including life satisfaction. Romantic relationship, academic goals, academic performance and health status were found to have a significant positive correlation with life satisfaction. Success in a select group of life domains had a significant positive correlation with life satisfaction for undergraduate tertiary students. Having a successful romantic relationship, focusing on academic activities and being in good physical health all correlated positively with life satisfaction for undergraduate tertiary students. Practical implications of the results as well as future research possibilities are discussed.

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  • Investigation and Modelling of Fetal Sheep Maturation

    Xu, Yanyang (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    In this thesis, I study the maturational changes of the fetal sheep ECoG (electrocorticogram) in its third-trimester of gestation (95-140 days of gestation), investigate three continuum models for electrical behaviour of the cortex, and tune the parameters in one of these models to generate the discontinuous EEG waves in the immature cortex. Visual inspection of the ECoG time-series shows that the third-trimester of fetal sheep is comprised of two stages: early third-trimester characterised by bursting activity separated by silent intervals, and late third-trimester with well-defined SWS (slow wave sleep) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep states. For the late third-trimester, the results of power, correlation time, and SVD (singular value decomposition) entropy analysis demonstrate that the sleep state change is a cortical phase transition—with SWS-to-REM transition being a first-order transition, and REM-to-SWS second-order. Further analyses by correlation time, SVD entropy, and spectral edge frequency display that the differentiation of the two distinct SWS and REM sleep states occurs at about 125 dGA (day gestational age). Spectral analysis divides the third-trimester into four stages in terms of the frequency and amplitude variations of the major resonances. Spindle-like resonances only occur in the first stage. A power surge is observed immediately prior to the emergence of the two sleep states. Most significant changes of the spectrum occur during the fourth stage for both SWS (in amplitude) and REM (in frequency) sleep states. For the modelling of the immature cortex, different theoretical descriptions of cortical behaviour are investigated, including the ccf (cortical column field) model of J. J. Wright, and the Waikato cortical model. For the ccf model at centimetric scale, the time-series, fluctuation power, power law relation, gamma oscillation, phase relation between excitatory and inhibitory elements, power spectral density, and spatial Fourier spectrum are quantified from numerical simulations. From these simulations, I determined that the physiologically sophisticated ccf model is too large and unwieldy for easy tuning to match the electrical response of the immature cortex. The Waikato near-far fast-soma model is constructed by incorporating the back-propagation effect of the action potential into the Waikato fast-soma model, state equations are listed and stability prediction are performed by varying the gap junction diffusion strength, subcortical drive, and the rate constants of the near- and far-dendritic tree. In the end, I selected the classic and simpler Waikato slow-soma mean-field model to use for my immature cortex simulations. Model parameters are customised based on the physiology of the immature cortex, including GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult) excitatory effect, number of synaptic connections, and rate constants of the IPSPs (inhibitory postsynaptic potential). After hyperpolarising the neuron resting voltage sufficiently to cause the immature inhibitory neuron to act as an excitatory agent, I alter the rate constant of the IPSP, and study the stability of the immature cortex. The bursting activity and quiet states of the discontinuous EEG are simulated and the gap junction diffusion effect in the immature cortex is also examined. For a rate constant of 18.6 s-1, slow oscillations in the quiet states are generated, and for rate constant of 25 s-1, a possible cortical network oscillation emerges. As far as I know, this is the first time that the GABA excitatory effect has been integrated into a mean-field cortical model and the discontinuous EEG wave successfully simulated in a qualitative way.

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  • Investigation of extractable materials from biochar

    Yang, Wenjuan (2012)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    Biochar has been used to improve soil productivity and has been a subject of discussion since 1804. However, research and development of biochar for environmental purposes on a global scale are a recent development. Due to the increase of its uses and interest in biochar as soil amendment, there is a need to understand the intrinsic chemistry of biochar to understand how this might affect its action in the soil. In this work two principal topics were addressed: 1) Investigation of volatile organic compounds in biochar that has been derived from various biomasses and the effect of different temperatures of pyrolysis 2) Identification of some chemical structures of biochar. GC-MS analysis identified 60 extractable organic compounds. With respect to pyrolysis temperature, GC-MS results of Green Waste chars and Sucrose chars shows that extractable organic compounds changed their proportions with differing pyrolysis temperatures. MALDI-TOF and high resolution mass spectrometry results suggested that the characteristic ions for biochar that appear in MALDI-TOF spectra with m/z values of 301,317, 413,429 and 453 are plasticizers whereas 685/ 701 are ions, [M+Na] ⁺/ [M+K] ⁺ respectively that are intrinsic to biochar.

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  • Vocal Detection: An evaluation between general versus focused models

    Tsai, Yi-Na (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis focuses on presenting a technique on improving current vocal detection methods. One of the most popular methods employs some type of statistical approach where vocal signals can be distinguished automatically by first training a model on both vocal and non-vocal example data, then using this model to classify audio signals into vocals or non-vocals. There is one problem with this method which is that the model that has been trained is typically very general and does its best at classifying various different types of data. Since the audio signals containing vocals that we care about are songs, we propose to improve vocal detection accuracies by creating focused models targeted at predicting vocal segments according to song artist and artist gender. Such useful information like artist name are often overlooked, this restricts opportunities in processing songs more specific to its type and hinders its potential success. Experiment results with several models built according to artist and artist gender reveal improvements of up to 17% when compared to using the general approach. With such improvements, applications such as automatic lyric synchronization to vocal segments in real-time may become more achievable with greater accuracy.

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  • Questions And Answers: Exploring Mobile User Needs

    Su-Ping (Carole), Chang (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The users of mobile devices increasingly use networked services to address their information needs. Questions asked by mobile users are strongly influenced by context factors, such as location and user activity. However in research which has empirically documented the link between mobile information needs and context factors, information about expected answers is scant. Therefore, the goal of this study is to explore the context factors which influence the mobile information needs and the answers expected by mobile users. The results, are obtained by analysing information from paper diaries and digital diaries. This project involved a user study, comprising two different types of studies concerning a paper diary and a digital diary. The analysis of both the paper diary and the digital diary was conducted through grounded theory and taxonomy of information needs. our results indicate a relationship between mobile information needs and context factors and expected answers. Our study explored this relationship between mobile information needs and context factors, and provides a better understanding of the expected answers related to mobile information needs.

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  • The Effect of Effort: An analysis of Killeen's (1994) Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement

    Bjarnesen, Rebecca Claire (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement (MPR, Killeen, 1994) is a mathematical model comprising three main concepts; an animal’s arousal to behaviour based on its motivation for a particular reinforcer, time and energy constraints on responding, and coupling between a response class and reinforcer. This experiment tested the ability of MPR to predict response rates when the minimum force requirement and topography of response was changed. Increasing the minimum force requirement was expected to increase the value of δ, the parameter related to response constraint. Altering the topography of the response was expected to also alter the δ value, as different response forms were expected to take different lengths of time to perform. There were four conditions; low force key, low force door, high force key and high force door, and 6 hens responded under each of these conditions in an ascending geometric series of Fixed Ratio (FR) values. It was shown that hens responded at a faster rate and to higher FR values when responding on the key than on the door, and for both apparatus, the hens stopped responding at lower FR values when weights were added. Unexpectedly, there were no statistically significant differences in the value of δ across conditions, but the values for a, meant to represent the animals’ arousal, did change. It was suggested that the changes in a reflected changes in the animals’ motivation to perform the different responses, probably due to rewarding or aversive properties of the operant response related to the different response forms.

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  • The Relationship between Underemployment and Job Attitudes of New Zealand Graduates

    Cockroft, Kara Beverley (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    Given the current economic climate marked with organizational restructurings, downsizing and streamlined global enterprises, more individuals are choosing to study at a tertiary level in order to secure and enhance their employment opportunities. The result is an increase in more highly educated workers trying to find jobs which utilize their skills and qualifications. When this is not achieved, an individual may perceive a discrepancy between their current job situation and their desired job situation, and feelings of 'underemployment' may result. A self-report questionnaire was completed by 568 alumni from the University of Waikato and Victoria University to determine the relationship between underemployment and individual and organizationally-relevant outcomes. The results revealed that graduates who perceived themselves to be underemployed reported lower levels of job satisfaction, stronger careerist attitudes (belief that one does not get ahead mainly on the basis on merit), lower life satisfaction, lower affective commitment, increased intention to quit, and increased job searching behaviour. Relative deprivation, defined as the perceived discrepancy between an individual‘s current employment situation and the job situation they both desire and feel entitled to, was assessed to determine its mediating effects on underemployment and the predicted job outcomes. The analysis showed that relative deprivation mediated twenty three of the thirty five mediation relationships that were tested, indicating that relative deprivation plays a significant role in explaining how negative job attitudes arise from feelings of underemployment. The findings from this research have important implications for the way in which individuals and organizations can manage levels of underemployment and the resulting job attitudes. This may include assessing the nature of work and an individual‘s responsibilities by allowing for more job scope or 'job crafting' – shaping the task boundaries of the job, within the context of defined jobs, to better suit individuals expectations for satisfactory employment.

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  • Characterization of the bacterioplankton communities in the melt-water ponds of Bratina Island, Victoria Land, Antarctica

    Archer, Stephen David James (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    Antarctic ecosystems (such as the ponds by Bratina Island, Antarctica) provide an excellent opportunity to examine organisms that can live in one of the most extreme and geochemically varied environments in the world. These ponds are of interest as each one can vary greatly in size, depth, and age as well as profiles of dissolved oxygen, metal concentrations, pH and salinity. Even within ponds geochemically distinct stratified layers can form which can greatly influence their microbial communities. There are a number of studies which indicate that microbial populations found in Antarctic ponds will be highly diverse and variable due to the uniqueness of the environment. This study aims to increase our knowledge of microbial biodiversity and the environmental factors which structure them, in particular the stratification transition zones within ponds water columns. A thorough set of biological samples were taken from five selected ponds during mid-summer in the 09-10 season to complement those taken during the winter freeze-up in the 07-08 extended season by Hawes and co-workers. Oxygen concentration, pH, conductivity and temperature of each pond water sample were measured in the field and water samples were taken back to the University of Waikato for further analysis. This research primarily used the DNA fingerprinting technique ARISA, matched with geochemistry to identify and characterise the resident and functional members of the microbial community and understand how the community is structured in relation to environmental conditions. We found that the planktonic populations of the Bratina Island ponds do vary between ponds, that each pond has its own chemical signature and that populations do change with depth. One of the studied ponds, Egg, was found to have an extreme chemical stratification leading to significantly different populations at each depth. Data analysis using BEST analysis determined that the changes in the bacterial populations in Egg are primarily in relation to the pH and conductivity at each depth which changes dramatically in the lower depths.

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  • Five case studies exploring the value of technology education in New Zealand secondary schools

    Bowskill, Nicholas Ralph Martin (2012)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    There are many factors that influence students in their choice to take vocationally focussed or general technology subjects at secondary school. Equally, there are many factors that contribute to whether or not they succeed in their studies, and what value they place on the different types of knowledge and skills they learn. A student‟s choices cannot be separated from the social and environmental context in which the student acts. This study presents five case studies that explore the context and experiences of five, very different students of technology who have all recently graduated secondary school. Each case study brings together data from semi-structured interviews conducted with the student participant, one of their parents and their principal technology teacher at secondary school. They provide an insight into how each student perceived their technology education, what influenced them in choosing technology classes, what knowledge and skills they learnt, how that knowledge and skill has served them in their transition into the workforce or tertiary study, and what they perceive are the differences between vocational technology education and general technology education.

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  • Beyond certification: The maintenance of ISO 9000 in Malaysian service organisations

    Ab Wahid, Roslina (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This research is an in-depth study of the quality management systems of two Malaysian "government-linked companies" (GLCs) classified as being in the service industry. Both are mature holders of ISO 9000 certification and the research focuses on how they have gone about maintaining and improving their quality management system (QMS), the extent to which they have succeeded, and what management and employees of the companies feel have been critical success factors and problems to be overcome. A case study approach is used for this study. The study has been comprehensive in its data collection with 30 individual face-to-face interviews with top management, middle management, lower management in charge of operations and quality, the management representative responsible for the implementation of ISO 9000 in the case companies being conducted, 300 questionnaires being distributed to employees of both companies, and a thorough review of ISO 9000 and other quality documents carried out. The results of the study showed that the two companies maintain their ISO 9000 based on the requirements of the standard. However, to support the technical requirements and in order to maintain the quality system more effectively and strive for excellence, the study highlights the need for integrating the human resource aspects of quality management into the quality system. Critical success factors of ISO 9000 maintenance identified are top management commitment, employee involvement, recognition and reward, teamwork, continuous improvement, and quality culture. The main problems associated with maintaining ISO 9000 faced by the companies are lack of cooperation and commitment from people, lack of knowledge and training, lack of communication, and lack of awareness and understanding on ISO 9000. Measures outlined to overcome the problems include closer interaction between people, training of management and employee on ISO 9000 and related subjects, skill and competency, and better communication. The study has identified lessons to be drawn by similar companies facing similar challenges and those striving for excellence. It has provided insights into the improvements and changes brought by the continued maintenance of the ISO 9000 after certification. It has also added to the knowledge on aspects of organisational development for service companies and casting new light on various theories put forward in the quality management literature. Further, the development of a framework for effective ISO 9000 maintenance in service organisations will enable it to be tested and compared with other industry frameworks in future studies.

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  • Exploring Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Building at Offshore Technical Support Centers

    Chen, Jihong (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This is an exploratory investigation into knowledge transfer and knowledge building processes observed at offshore Technical Support Centers (TSCs) in China. Utilizing a multiple case study approach, the study examines how knowledge was transferred from the US-based support center to the China-based offshore support center, and how individuals and the organization built and expanded knowledge in a dynamic changing business context. The field cases were three Technical Support Centers in China. Three models were developed from the qualitative analysis of the field data to explain how knowledge is transferred and built in offshore TSCs. The knowledge transfer type adoption model identifies the relationships amongst the levels of knowledge (novice, advanced beginner, competency, and proficiency), the types of knowledge and the knowledge transfer approaches (structured transfer stages, unstructured copy, unstructured adaptation, and unstructured fusion). The basic individual tacit knowledge building model shows that tacit knowledge is acquired and built through two continuous knowledge building loops, an explicit learning loop and an implicit learning loop. The organizational knowledge building model demonstrates the interaction amongst knowledge flow, absorptive capacity, knowledge stock and knowledge intermediary in offshore knowledge transfer and building within the three levels (individual, group and organization levels) of the SECI spiral (socialization, externalization, combination and internalization). The three models provide new insights into the knowledge transfer process for different levels of knowledge acquisition, individual tacit knowledge building processes and organizational knowledge building processes in an offshore outsourcing business context. By applying these models to appropriate field situations, both practitioners and academics may be able to gain a deeper understanding of knowledge transfer approaches, be able to better guide new employees’ expertise and confidence building through controlled and monitored experiential learning process, and be able to improve understanding of how knowledge is built and evolves within organizations.

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  • The Relationships between Coping, Gender and Personality on the Experience of Interpersonal Conflict at Work

    Marovic, Jovana (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The present study explored the relations between task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict and several outcomes of employee well-being and organizational importance, examined the role of coping styles as moderators in the stressor-strain process, and investigated how the individual difference characteristics of gender and personality affect these processes. An online questionnaire measuring task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict, dispositional coping styles, job satisfaction, affective organizational commitment, turnover intentions, social dysfunction, loss of confidence, anxiety and depression, and several personality dispositions was completed by 178 participants working in the Toronto, Ontario region. All of the participants worked in the IT industry and were recruited from a single organization and the business-orientated networking site LinkedIn. Results showed that both task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict were negatively correlated with job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment, and positively correlated with turnover intentions, social dysfunction, loss of confidence, and anxiety and depression. The coping styles of problem-focused, emotion-focused and avoidance moderated several of the relationships between task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict and the criterion variables. No gender differences were found in perceptions of relationship-based interpersonal conflict. When faced with relationship-based interpersonal conflict, female employees indicated significantly lower levels of job satisfaction than their male counterparts. While no gender differences were found in the reported use of the problem-focused coping style, female employees reported using the emotion-focused and avoidance coping styles more often than their male counterparts.Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Locus of Control were examined as direct and moderator variables in the experience if interpersonal conflict at work. Conscientiousness was negatively correlated with perceptions of task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict, while Neuroticism was positively correlated with perceptions of both. Internal Locus of Control was positively correlated with perceptions of task-based interpersonal and did not show a significant correlation with relationship-based interpersonal conflict. Both Neuroticism and Conscientiousness moderated the relationships between task-based and relationship-based interpersonal conflict and the coping styles of problem-focused, emotion-focused and avoidance. Findings indicated that Locus of Control did not moderate any of the relationships between both types of interpersonal conflict and the coping styles. Limitations and strengths of the present research are discussed in the final chapter, along with recommendations for future research, practical implications, and a conclusion is drawn from the findings presented.

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  • Influence of Vegetation Cover on Coastal Aquifer Fluctuation and Sand Transport on Matakana Island

    Muller, Joshua Alois (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    The Bay of Plenty beaches on the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand are of significant physical, ecological and economic importance. Over the previous century, anthropogenic development and the introduction of non-indigenous coastal plant species has lead to a degradation of many of the Bay of Plenty regions’ coastal dune environments. Restoring these sections of coastline to their natural state strengthens the barrier they provide between coastal developments and the coastal ocean, whilst also promoting the growth of native plant species and improving habitat for local macro-invertebrate species. The influence of vegetation on aquifer levels and aeolian sediment transport in the dune and foredune was investigated at Matakana Island in the Western Bay of Plenty. Monitoring of the water table between March and November 2010 was undertaken at two adjacent sample sites, with different dominant overlying vegetation, Ammophila arenaria and Spinifex sericeus. During this time, aeolian sediment transport rates were also monitored through the deployment of sediment traps and two small climate stations. Results showed that aquifer levels beneath the dune face were highly variable. Fluctuations occurred at a range of time scales, stemming from variations in tide, rainfall and profile shape. Short-term fluctuation was primarily linked to tidal forcing. Tidal fluctuations were observed in the aquifer, and differed from tidal fluctuations directly offshore in their shape and amplitude, with some lag between tide and aquifer fluctuations also evident. Aquifer fluctuation shape and lag, and differences between sample sites were linked to the beach drainage capability through aquifer porosity and permeability; hydraulic conductivity; and transmissivity. Long-term change in beach profile shape further influenced aquifer levels, with an accreting beach resulting in an elevating average aquifer level and an eroding beach resulting in a diminishing aquifer level. Aeolian sediment deposition varied greatly across the cross-shore profile. Transport rates were limited by a small beach width when high tides combined with storm surge and wave run-ups limiting the source area. Rainfall further reduced transport potential when coinciding with high wind speed events. Sediment deposition was evenly distributed in the Spinifex dominated dune system, whilst deposition in the Ammophila dune primarily occurred at the seaward limit of vegetation growth. This pattern of deposition is linked to the characteristics of each species, primarily their average height and growth density. Sediment deposition differences between sites explain variances in sediment compaction which alters dune porosity and permeability at each site. Greater porosity and permeability in the Spinifex dominated dune saw the aquifer draining more readily. Lower beach aquifer levels aid accretion and greaten the source for onshore aeolian sediment transport. Spinifex dominated dunes are therefore suggested to provide healthier beach states on Bay of Plenty beaches.

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