586 results for Doctoral, 2009

  • Open population capture-recapture models and diabetes in Otago

    Cameron, Claire (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    xiv, 207 leaves :ill., ; 30 cm Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Mathematics and Statistics

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  • Antimicrobial activity of functional food ingredients focusing on manuka honey action against Escherichia coli : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering and Technology at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

    Rosendale, Douglas Ian (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    Massey University

    The goal of this research was to identify functional food ingredients/ingredient combinations able to manage the growth of intestinal microorganisms, and to elucidate the mechanisms of action of the ingredient(s). By developing a high-throughput in vitro microbial growth assay, a variety of preselected ingredients were screened against a panel of bacteria. Manuka honey UMF(TM) 20+ and BroccoSprouts(R) were identified as the most effective at managing microbial growth, alone and in combination. Manuka honey was particularly effective at increasing probiotic growth and decreasing pathogen growth. Testing of these two ingredients progressed to an animal feeding trial. Here, contrary to the in vitro results, it was found that no significant in vivo effects were observed. All honeys are known to be antimicrobial by virtue of bee-derived hydrogen peroxide, honey sugar-derived osmotic effects, and the contribution of low pH and the other bioactive compounds present, hence their historical usage as an antiseptic wound dressing. The in vitro antimicrobial effect of manuka honey has currently been the subject of much investigation, primarily focusing on the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), recently identified as methylglyoxal, a known antimicrobial agent. This work has taken the novel approach of examining the effects of all of the manuka honey antimicrobial constituents together against Escherichia coli, in order to fully establish the contribution of these factors to the observed in vitro antimicrobial effects. For the first time, it has been demonstrated that the in vitro antimicrobial activity of manuka honey is primarily due to a combination of osmotically active sugars and methylglyoxal, both in a dose-dependent manner, in a complex relationship with pH, aeration and other factors. Interestingly, the manuka honey was revealed to prevent the antimicrobial action of peroxide, and that whilst methylglyoxal prevented E. coli growth at the highest honey doses tested, at low concentrations the osmotically active sugars were the dominant growth-limiting factors. Contrary to the literature, it was discovered that methylglyoxal does not kill E. coli, but merely extended the lag phase of the organism. In conjunction with the lack of antimicrobial activity in vivo, this is a landmark discovery in the field of manuka honey research, as it implies that the value of manuka honey lies more towards wound dressing applications and gastric health than as a dietary supplement for intestinal health.

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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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  • Investigation of thermal aspects of building integrated photovoltaic/thermal solar collectors

    Anderson, Timothy Nicholas (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    In this study a novel building integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPVT) solar collector was developed, tested, modelled and optimised both experimentally and theoretically. Experimental testing found that glazing the prototype collector improved the maximum thermal efficiency by approximately 25% and decreased heat loss, by a factor of two, relative to an unglazed collector. Additionally, the spectral absorptance of a photovoltaic (PV) cell and several coloured absorber samples were characterised. The experimental data was subsequently used in the development and validation of an optimisation model for BIPVT style collectors. Numerical optimisation showed that the collector thermal efficiency could be improved by maximising the geometric fin efficiency, reducing the thermal resistance between the PV cells and the absorber, and by increasing the transmittance-absorptance product of the PV cells and/or the absorber. The results showed that low cost materials, such as mild steel, could be used without significantly affecting the BIPVTs thermal efficiency. It was also shown that there was potential to develop coloured BIPVT collectors with acceptable thermal efficiencies. Finally, the model showed that potentially the air space in an attic could be used rather than traditional insulating materials. Subsequent computational and experimental fluid dynamics studies found that the heat transfer coefficients in a scale-model attic would result in R-values similar to mineral wool type insulation and therefore may provide sufficient insulation of a BIPVT in a cold roof building. In these studies the validity of an existing correlation for natural convection in an attic-shaped enclosure was extended to Grashof numbers in the range 10^7 to 10^9 from its previous range, 2.9 x 10^6 to 9 x 10^6. The use of a single vertically mounted baffle was also found to reduce the natural convection heat transfer coefficients in attic-shaped enclosures. This led to the development of a new generalised correlation that can be used to determine the Nusselt number in an attic-shaped enclosure with regard to the proportions of the baffle. This work has shown that it is possible to achieve satisfactory thermal performance from BIPVT style collectors fabricated from low cost materials such as colour coated mild steel. Further it has demonstrated that there is potential to reduce the cost of such systems by integrating them into a building rather than onto a building.

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  • Industrial Firm Technology Transfer: The role of marketing

    Bojesen-Trepka, Mark Holten (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Reliance on marketing concepts and frameworks that are out of step with practice in a new economy environment presents a particular problem for industrial marketers intent on extracting revenue from firm technology transfer effort, and is a challenge for marketing scholars seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Using an interpretive methodology and the case study method, the study addresses the question what are the roles that marketing plays in industrial firm technology transfer effort by comparing and contrasting concepts and themes occurring in marketing and technology management theory with empirical data collected from four large scale industrial firms owned by the New Zealand Government. Interpretive analysis of marketing phenomena within and across the Case firms show that meta-patterns exist across marketing theory and the empirical data, and are also reflected in marketing practice. These meta-patterns reveal a role for marketing in firm technology transfer through deployment of resources that promote inter-firm and intra-firm relationships, collaboration, and cooperation, and the development of firm technological knowledge. The analysis facilitated development of a unique conceptual framework for industrial marketing that accommodates the meta-patterns identified in the study. The conceptual framework is significant because, in addition to providing a guide for industrial marketing practice, it challenges the efficacy of the traditional (4Ps) theory of marketing, which at its core relies on concepts that are not reflected in the study’s empirical findings, contemporary marketing theory, and contemporary marketing practice.

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  • I understand it well, but I cannot say it proper back: language use among older Dutch migrants in New Zealand

    Crezee, Ineke Hendrika Martine (2009-05-26T22:17:01Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The purposes of this study were (a) to examine two groups of healthy older Dutch English bilingual migrants in a New Zealand setting to investigate whether they were showing signs of L2 attrition with accompanying L1 reversion post-retirement, and (b) to identify possible factors which might play a role in the incidence of any L2 attrition and concomitant L1 reversion. Previous research has focused on similar groups of migrants in the Australian context, while New Zealand based research has focused on language shift and maintenance amongst three generations of migrants. The research design involved an analysis of sociolinguistic life, using questionnaires. These included self-assessments of L1 and L2 proficiency at three key times: on arrival in New Zealand, at time of ultimate attainment and post-retirement. Further, an analysis of assessments of respondents’ L1 and L2 proficiency pre-and post-retirement completed by interviewees’ adult children moderated respondents’ self-reports. The findings revealed a considerable overlap between participants’ self-reports and assessments by their adult children. The study also revealed a relationship between participants’ level of prior education and their ultimate attainment in the L2, with those who had come to New Zealand having learned English at Secondary School English very likely to have achieved a “good” or “very good” level of L2 proficiency. Conversely, those who had not learned the L2 at secondary school prior to arriving in New Zealand, were less likely to have achieved a “very good” level of ultimate attainment as evident both from self-reports and assessments by adult children. The design also included a linguistic analysis of elicited free speech. Data focused on key indicators of age, gender, social class, prior education, occupation and predominant linguistic environment pre- and post-retirement. Free speech was examined for code-switching, response latency and L1 structure in respondents’ spoken L2. Results indicated that a majority of respondents showed minimal if any signs of L2 attrition with concomitant L1 reversion, both as evidenced by their spoken L2 and as indicated by self-reports and assessments by adult children. Any signs of L2 attrition which were found appeared linked to respondents’ level of prior education and L2 proficiency on arrival in New Zealand. Being exposed to a predominantly L1 social environment post-retirement also appeared to result in a lifting of the threshold for L2 lexical items, resulting in a slightly increased response latency in the spoken L2. Three participants said they experienced some problems expressing their healthcare needs to medical professionals, to the extent that they were searching for words. All stated they “got there in the end” but needed more time to paraphrase their health needs. Two subjects avoided the use of the L2 during the interview, even when prompted in English. Three respondents engaged in significant codeswitching from L2 to L1 and vice versa, with two engaging in what Muysken (2000) terms “congruent lexicalisation”. Adult childrens’ reports indicated that the respondents in question had always spoken in this manner, but to a greater extent now, post-retirement. Overall, a number of the healthy older subjects interviewed for the study were showing some signs of increased response latency and lexical retrieval problems when expressing themselves in the L2, but none to the degree that they were no longer able to communicate in that language.

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  • The shaping of decision-making in governance in the New Zealand Public Healthcare Services

    Mathias, Wanda Lee (2009-08-19T20:35:46Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The study explores what shapes decision-making in governance in the New Zealand public healthcare services. It contributes to the understanding of the impact of the beliefs, perceptions and roles of the decision-makers and the tensions in public healthcare services in New Zealand. The focus was on ascertaining the characteristics of the people as individuals and as members of groups, their skills, preparation and the experience required to make governance decisions in healthcare services in New Zealand. The research analysed data from interviews with individuals in senior positions in public healthcare services in New Zealand, focus groups made up from those individuals and observations of formal District Health Board (DHB) meetings. The context for the study is the New Zealand public healthcare services within the DHB model. This study focuses on the organisational and operational aspects of governance from the socio-anthropological viewpoint of Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu’s methodology was chosen as it highlights the interaction of power and the management of tension between individuals and groups in different, but abutting, fields of practice. Using Bourdieu’s methodology the researcher has placed healthcare services in an economy of political power where the capital individuals and groups bring to an environment is demonstrated through their power and influence within a particular field of practice. In this study the field of practice is governance in New Zealand public healthcare services. The method involved purposive sampling of participants from three DHBs. The participants included appointed and elected members, chairmen, chief executives and senior clinicians from medical and nursing cohorts. The participants identified 22 abstracts which determined the shape of their decision-making. Through analysis and reflection these 22 determinants were organised into groups reflecting the generic principles of governance identified in the literature. The study concludes that decision-making in governance is shaped by the concepts of professional maturity, quality and safety, power and tension and fiduciary duty within the context of structure and time. The scope of governance is connected across healthcare organisations by the tension of power manifested through the capital individuals and groups bring to the interaction or field of practice. The study also found that there are two aspects to decision-making in governance which allow transferability of the concepts of governance across healthcare service organisations. Firstly, governance is decision-making in good faith with independence of mind and with the appropriate skills, diligence and care on behalf of others. Secondly, the structures of governance operationalised in audit, laws, guidelines, codes and principles support the decision-making on behalf of others. Consequently, the rules of decision-making in governance in healthcare services are the same whether the decision is being made in a clinical or corporate environment. They are enacted differently because of the different contexts. The study brings together the determinants in their concept groups into a framework in the context of structure and time. Use of the framework will enable those with governance responsibilities to shape their governance decision-making from an informed and common base which recognises the tensions in the field of healthcare services governance.

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  • The measurement of the performance of New Zealand tertiary education institutions and the demand for their services

    Smart, Warren (2009-11-08T20:17:45Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This thesis explored the measurement of performance of New Zealand tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and the demand for their services. This involved analysing the research performance of New Zealand universities, analysing the productive efficiency of New Zealand TEIs and examining the choice of provider by bachelor’s degree starters. Bibliometric data was used to measure the research productivity of New Zealand universities. This showed that following a fall during the early 2000s, the research productivity of New Zealand universities increased following the introduction of the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). A multi-dimensional analysis of university research performance between 2000 and 2005 showed that no individual university was top in all four of the performance measures assessed. The overall performance of three universities, Massey University, Lincoln University and Auckland University of Technology, were noticeably below that of the other five universities. Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was then applied to input and output data of New Zealand TEIs to analyse their productive efficiency. In 2006, polytechnics that had: low levels of bachelor’s degree provision, were not regionally based, had a high proportion of subcontracting and were larger institutions, achieved higher levels of pure technical efficiency. The analysis showed that several polytechnics could improve their technical efficiency by reducing their scale of operations. In polytechnics, higher technical efficiency was associated with better financial performance. A number of technically efficient polytechnics struggled financially, indicating that the overall efficiency of the polytechnic sector was not high, or the funding model they operate under is not appropriate. The analysis also showed that decreasing bachelor’s degree provision, poor financial performance in the previous year, an increase in provision of community education, was associated with higher growth in total factor productivity between 1996 and 2006. The application of DEA to Australasian university data between 1997 and 2005 showed that New Zealand universities performed relatively well in terms of relative pure technical efficiency, compared with their Australian counterparts. However, the total factor productivity of New Zealand universities increased at a lower rate, on average, than that of the Australian Group of Eight and newer Australian universities. The application of DEA to a dataset of the participating TEIs in the PBRF showed that polytechnics had lower technical efficiency, on average, than other TEIs. The choices of bachelor’s degree starters in 2006 were analysed for evidence of a lack of parity of esteem between university and polytechnic degrees. The results showed that a lack of parity of esteem between polytechnic and university degrees may be influencing student choices. Students from higher deciles schools, with higher secondary school qualifications, Asians, students who travel for study, were all more likely to enrol in a university to start a bachelor’s degree. There was less clear cut evidence of a lack of parity of esteem between selected groupings of New Zealand universities. However, there did appear to be a lack of parity of esteem between the four older metropolitan universities and the two newest universities, with signs the former were held in higher esteem.

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  • Leiopelma hochstetteri Fitzinger 1861 (Anura: Leiopelmatidae) habitat ecology in the Waitakere Ranges, New Zealand

    Najera-Hillman, Eduardo (2009-10-08T02:13:58Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Declines and extinctions of amphibian populations are a global dilemma with complex local causes, which should be viewed in the context of a much larger biodiversity crisis. As other animal groups, amphibians with restricted distributions, such as island endemics, are thought to be more vulnerable to environmental change and susceptible to population declines. In the New Zealand archipelago, the only four native species of frogs (Leiopelma hochstetteri, L. archeyi, L. hamiltoni and L. pakeka) are classified as threatened. In particular Leiopelma hochstetteri, the most widespread and abundant endemic frog species in New Zealand, now survives only in spatially fragmented populations as a result of direct or indirect human activity. Hence, it is recognised as threatened and fully protected by legislation. In the last fifty years, some L. hochstetteri populations have been studied, providing descriptive information, which may be used to assess the current status (increasing, stable or declining) of previously or never monitored populations. This thesis examines the diet and trophic level, the effects ship rats (Rattus rattus) as well as the distribution and abundance of L. hochstetteri on a habitat-use context, to provide a basis for evaluating conceivable decline-agents, and to establish a platform to design directed conservation strategies. The Waitakere Ranges are considered a Leiopelma hochstetteri conservation management unit, on which L. hochstetteri has been previously studied. This area consists of a series of hills that run roughly north–south, which are mostly covered in regenerating indigenous vegetation. Today, 60% of the Waitakere Ranges fall within a Regional Park, which together with its surrounding residential areas is afforded protection to minimise the effects of development on the region. The accessibility and conservation character of this area makes it an ideal area for the study of L. hochstetteri populations. As a first step to characterise the diet and trophic level of L. hochstetteri within streams in the Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were undertaken on a variety of sympatric terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal species, including adult frogs. These results showed that: 1) aquatic and terrestrial food webs were linked by terrestrial inputs into the stream; 2) invertebrate and vertebrate predators separated well into distinct trophic groups; and 3) L. hochstetteri occupied an intermediate trophic position among predators, with a diet, at least as an adult, comprising terrestrial invertebrates. Shortfin eels and banded kokopu were identified as potential predators of L. hochstetteri, but data for rats were inconclusive. The inconclusiveness of these trophic studies, with regard to the effects of ship rats on L. hochstetteri populations, lead me to evaluate the influence of a seven-year ship rat management operation on frog abundance. To achieve a reliable evaluation, the habitat characteristics that had significant influence on frog abundance were identified. Then, it was confirmed that the study areas represented similar habitats in terms of those variables, and finally the effect of the pest-management activities was evaluated. Presence/absence of pest-management operations did not have a significant effect on frog abundance. These results, together with the results of the diet and trophic level analyses, suggested that ship rats do not represent a significant threat for this frog species, at least in the Waitakere Ranges. The results of distribution and abundance investigations indicated that in the Waitakere Ranges frogs are currently widely distributed, relatively abundant and that recruitment has occurred at least in the last ten years. Additionally, in order to identify associations between habitat characteristics and frog distribution and abundance, reliable and specifically designed monitoring methodologies were developed. Although this frog is known to occur in wet areas adjacent to shaded streams in forested catchments, quantitative ecological data previously did not exist to enable characterisation of its habitat. Here, novel data were reported on the current distribution and habitat requirements of this species in the Waitakere Ranges. Statistical modelling demonstrates frogs most likely occur in small, erosive streams with coarse substrates and cold waters, surrounded by mature or undisturbed riparian vegetation, where higher abundances of frogs may be found in steep areas with stable patches of cobbles and boulders lying against larger stream bed elements within the stream channel. Anthropogenic activities, such as clearing or logging, and upstream disturbances that potentially increase silt input into streams were identified as threats to these frog species. Finally, the habitat-use information gathered during this investigation was utilised to develop a spatial decision support system (SDSS) as a tool to assess the quality and quantity of habitat available to L. hochstetteri populations associated with the Auckland Region. These results have important implications for the conservation of New Zealand native frog species and riparian stream habitat.

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  • Ankle sprains: an investigation into patient perceptions and performance of physical tasks following acute ankle sprains using a mixed methods approach

    Larmer, Peter John (2009-11-12T03:01:29Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Introduction: Ankle injuries are among the most prevalent acute musculoskeletal injuries, and are a significant burden on any health system. The interaction of the physiotherapist with the patient and their mutual understanding of impairments, function and recovery are important to achieving a satisfactory return to work and leisure activities. To date, little attention has focused on this interaction. There is a need for further exploration of differences and associations between outcome questionnaires that investigate similar domains of pain and function, and whether scores from such outcome measures are related to the patient’s perception of function and recovery. Of further interest is whether there are relationships between impairment measures and perceived function, and how actual performance of tasks might influence the patients understanding of their capabilities. To provide a more complete picture of these relationships, a ‘mixed methods’ approach using qualitative research methods within a quantitative study was thought to be most appropriate. The overall aim of this thesis was to utilise this research approach to investigate patients’ perceptions of their recovery and elucidate factors important to both therapists and patients that ultimately might enhance their understanding of recovery from an ankle injury. Literature reviews: Three literature reviews were undertaken. Firstly a review of systematic reviews investigating ankle sprains identified a wide variety of management strategies. There was a lack of strong evidence to support any particular management strategy. Hence clinicians are likely to have difficulty setting appropriate rehabilitation plans. Secondly a critical review identified a number of different outcome questionnaires that were utilised to gauge recovery level; however, justification for their selection was often lacking. This review also identified that little emphasis was placed on understanding the patients’ perception of their injury and the rehabilitation process. A final critical review investigated impairment and performance measures and identified four specific areas that were focused upon by clinicians during the treatment of ankle sprains: joint position sense, postural control, strength and performance during function. However, only weak evidence was found for there being a deficit in joint position sense, postural control and strength in the injured limb following an ankle sprain, and inconclusive evidence of deficits in physical performance of tasks related to function. Methods: Forty participants with an acute sprained ankle were recruited along with their treating physiotherapist. The participants completed a Global questionnaire, the Lower Limb Task Questionnaire (LLTQ) and the Short Form -36 (SF-36) Questionnaire at the initial visit, at discharge and at a six week follow up visit where they also undertook impairment testing involving, joint position sense, postural control and strength along with a functional performance test and selected functional activities. Ten participants were purposefully selected to undertake semi-structured interviews. The treating physiotherapists completed global questionnaires at the initial visit and at time of discharge. An interpretive hermeneutic approach was undertaken to examine the participants’ perceptions. Results: There were equal numbers of males and female participants and the average age of participants was 30.5 years. The relationship between questionnaires for the domains of pain and function varied between low and high degrees of association. The global limitations scores between the participants and physiotherapists were similar at the initial visit, whereas on discharge the participants had a significantly lower score (p0.05). There was no association between questionnaire scores and impairment measures (p>0.05). Additionally there were no significant associations between previous injury and questionnaire scores and impairment measures. Finally in relation to the performance of specific functional tests there was a significant difference (p<0.05) between the six week follow up LLTQ score and the score following actual performance of the test. The findings of the participants’ interviews identified three key concerns. Firstly, that participants have a limited understanding of questionnaires, and secondly, that there is a difference in understanding of ‘recovery’ between the therapist and the patient at time of discharge. Thirdly, there was dissociation between outcome measures and the patient’s perception of their own recovery. Conclusions: This study revealed a lack of understanding and effective communication concerning physiotherapy practice in relation to ankle sprains. It was apparent that questionnaires purporting to measure similar constructs are at times dissimilar in scores and are not related strongly. Care needs to be taken in selecting and interpreting outcome measures particularly in relation to questionnaires. It was also apparent that caution should be exercised when considering the influence of impairment measures upon function. Physiotherapists should be aware that patients may perceive a lack of confidence in their level of function at the time of discharge. As a result physiotherapists need to incorporate strategies to improve patient confidence in their management plan.

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  • Tourism industry responses to the rise of sustainable tourism and related environmental policy initiatives: the case of Hue City, Vietnam

    Bui, Duc Tinh (2009-11-15T19:58:37Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Tourism is promoted by the governments of many developing countries because it offers the potential for creating jobs, thus generating income for the country and revenue for the government. However, the tourism industry can also be viewed as a destructive force, associated with negative externalities such as the loss of natural landscapes, congestion, and environmental and cultural degradation. These problems are more likely to be exacerbated where there is a lack of well-designed planning and effective management of tourism development. An essential component of any management of tourism is the ability to engage with, and get a positive response from, the tourism industry. There are a wide range of enterprises involved in providing tourist products and experiences, and in many nations, both developing and developed, a large number of these businesses are small and medium in size and tend to operate at a local scale. The informal nature of tourism enterprises in the developing world can make it difficult to spread awareness of tourism policy and to measure moves towards more sustainable performance on the part of the industry. Using the case study of tourism in the city of Hue, this thesis argues that it is essential to understand both what tourism enterprises know about sustainable tourism practice and policy and also how they respond to its adoption, if we are to more fully understand tourism and its links to sustainable economic development. Located on the central northern coast of Vietnam, Hue is well known for its cultural resources and natural beauty, and the province has become a major tourism centre in Vietnam. The city of Hue itself is recognized as having international heritage value and was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1993. During the last decade, tourism revenues have increased by nearly 35% per annum, and Hue has made great efforts to both stimulate and cater for increasing demand for its tourism products and services. The Vietnamese government has introduced a number of policies designed to enhance environmental quality generally and, more specifically, to improve the sustainability of enterprises in the tourism sector. This thesis examines the degree to which tourism enterprises in the city of Hue are aware of the broad concept of sustainable tourism and of the specific legislation designed to influence the sustainability of their businesses. I examine the structure and make-up of the industry and then analyse whether characteristics such as size, ownership type and sectoral focus play a role in influencing awareness of, and response to, government policy. The research triangulates data-gathering methods: secondary data, literature reviews, semi-structured interviews and an enterprise survey are all used to gain insights into the core research questions. Each method feeds into and is strengthened by the others, and their combination (including 50 interviews and 180 survey responses) provides a robust data set to work from. The findings reveal that many of the firms operating in the Hue tourism industry are characterized by weak institutional practices, low financial capacity, poor facilities and a lack of broader awareness of policies that influence sustainable tourism practice. The tourism industry’s awareness of general sustainable development issues is low, and much business practice focuses on short-term rather than long-term perspectives. This limits the use of environmentally friendly practices by firms, especially small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), in their daily business activities. The study reveals that there is no significant variation in the adoption of sustainable tourism practices according to the size of enterprises, especially if the practices in question are simple and can be introduced with cost savings. However, as the cost and complexity of introducing environmental measures increases, we see a greater ability on the part of larger enterprises to adopt such actions – partly because they are in a stronger position to bear the short-terms costs of implementing such approaches. There are a wide range of factors that constrain the Hue tourism industry from adopting more sustainable tourism practices. Internal constraints such as limited financial and human resources are combined with external constraints such as increasing cost-based competition, the lack of enforcement of government policies, and limited awareness of sustainable tourism pracitces. All of these factors play a crucial role in shaping the actions of enterprises in relation to sustainable tourism practices and policies. The results of this study also point to the fact that government sustainable tourism initiatives that rely on ‘command-and-control’ approaches will have limited effect; instead, a variety of institutional economic instruments offer greater potential to overcome deficiencies in the ability of the market to drive tourism enterprises towards more sustainable business practices. The thesis also argues that it is important to develop approaches that can cope with the special challenges attached to management of sustainable tourism development in destinations that are dominated by SMEs. The thesis contributes to the growing body of theory and literature in sustainable tourism development and tourism-enterprise behaviour. It also makes an important contribution to our understanding of tourism enterprises in the developing world. In particular, the findings add an important layer of understanding to those attempting to develop a more sustainable tourism industry in Vietnam. Specifically, it provides policy-makers with important insights into the ways in which different types of tourism enterprises respond to initiatives that relate to improved business sustainability.

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  • Ontology based personalized modeling for chronic disease risk evaluation and knowledge discovery: an integrated approach

    Verma, Anju (2009-11-23T00:55:28Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Populations are aging and the prevalence of chronic disease, persisting for many years, is increasing. The most common, non-communicable chronic diseases in developed countries are; cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis and specific cancers. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity have high prevalence and develop over the course of life due to a number of interrelated factors including genetic predisposition, nutrition and lifestyle. With the development and completion of human genome sequencing, we are able to trace genes responsible for proteins and metabolites that are linked with these diseases. A computerized model focused on organizing knowledge related to genes, nutrition and the three chronic diseases, namely, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity has been developed for the Ontology-Based Personalized Risk Evaluation for Chronic Disease Project. This model is a Protégé-based ontological representation which has been developed for entering and linking concepts and data for these three chronic diseases. This model facilitates to identify interrelationships between concepts. The ontological representation provides the framework into which information on individual patients, disease symptoms, gene maps, diet and life history can be input, and risks, profiles, and recommendations derived. Personal genome and health data could provide a guide for designing and building a medical health administration system for taking relevant annual medical tests, e.g. gene expression level changes for health surveillance. One method, called transductive neuro-fuzzy inference system with weighted data normalization is used to evaluate personalized risk of chronic disease. This personalized approach has been used for two different chronic diseases, predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease and predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes. For predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease, the National Nutrition Health Survey 97 data from New Zealand population has been used. This data contains clinical, anthropometric and nutritional variables. For predicting risk of type 2 diabetes, data from the Italian population with clinical and genetic variables has been used. It has been discovered that genes responsible for causing type 2 diabetes are different in male and female samples. A framework to integrate the personalized model and the chronic disease ontology is also developed with the aim of providing support for further discovery through the integration of the ontological representation in order to build an expert system in genes of interest and relevant dietary components.

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  • Enhancing the effectiveness of online groups: an investigation of storytelling in the facilitation of online groups

    Thorpe, Stephen John (2009-11-18T19:50:27Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Building relationships in the world of online groups is a recent, exciting and challenging area for the field of group facilitation. Evidence has shown that online groups with strong relationship links are more effective and more resilient than those with without them. Yet, the processes and techniques to effectively facilitate the building of these online relationships are not yet understood and there is scant empirical knowledge to assist practicing group facilitators in this important task. Challenges arise when many of the embodied aspects of inter-personal communication, such as body language, tone of voice, emotions, energy levels and context are not easily readable by group members and facilitators. Many of the well established group processes and interventions that facilitators rely upon in face-to-face situations do not translate effectively or are simply not available in an online group situation. Storytelling, however, presented one approach from the domain of face-to-face group facilitation that might translate well online. Storytelling is well known as an enabler for people to connect at a deeper and an embodied level. It can be highly effective at building strong social ties and group resilience – right across a wide range of settings. This thesis inquired into storytelling’s potential for online facilitation practice with the question of how is storytelling beneficial in building relationships in a facilitated online group? Starting with the premise that storytelling will be an effective approach, eighteen facilitators from the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) came together to collectively research the area using a participative approach. The intent of the approach was to involve online facilitation practitioners in the research so that their motivations, ways of looking at things, and questions could have value and that their experiences would be at the heart of the data generated. A variety of online software tools were used including: email, Skype™ conferencing, telephone conferencing, video and web conferencing, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), blogging, online surveys and within the 3-D interactive world of Second Life™. The study affirmed that storytelling assisted relationship development across a range of online settings. As anticipated, storytelling aided identity creation; scenario description; describing conflict and to articulate learning edges. The availability of an extra text channel during a primarily oral communication is seen as a potentially valuable contribution to the art of storytelling. In addition, the study offers a challenge to the storytelling field in proposing that direct contact between teller and listener is not always a priori requirement. The blending of roles raises some ethical challenges for online facilitation practice. The also inquiry confirmed that software tool selection was critical for ensuring full participation and buy-in to online group decisions. The 3-D, avatar-based medium of Second Life™ assisted with emotional connections. A range of new opportunities emerged through co-researchers engaging with the research process that inform the practice of group facilitation. They expand the role and horizons of the online facilitator in relation to the wider profession of group facilitation. Reflections are made about the International Association of Facilitators Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Group Facilitators and IAF Core Competencies and some guidelines for the practice of online facilitation are offered.

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  • Local and personalised models for prediction, classification and knowledge discovery on real world data modelling problems

    Hwang, Yuan-Chun (2009-11-17T20:14:04Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This thesis presents several novel methods to address some of the real world data modelling issues through the use of local and individualised modelling approaches. A set of real world data modelling issues such as modelling evolving processes, defining unique problem subspaces, identifying and dealing with noise, outliers, missing values, imbalanced data and irrelevant features, are reviewed and their impact on the models are analysed. The thesis has made nine major contributions to information science, includes four generic modelling methods, three real world application systems that apply these methods, a comprehensive review of the real world data modelling problems and a data analysis and modelling software. Four novel methods have been developed and published in the course of this study. They are: (1) DyNFIS – Dynamic Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System, (2) MUFIS – A Fuzzy Inference System That Uses Multiple Types of Fuzzy Rules, (3) Integrated Temporal and Spatial Multi-Model System, (4) Personalised Regression Model. DyNFIS addresses the issue of unique problem subspaces by identifying them through a clustering process, creating a fuzzy inference system based on the clusters and applies supervised learning to update the fuzzy rules, both antecedent and consequent part. This puts strong emphasis on the unique problem subspaces and allows easy to understand rules to be extracted from the model, which adds knowledge to the problem. MUFIS takes DyNFIS a step further by integrating a mixture of different types of fuzzy rules together in a single fuzzy inference system. In many real world problems, some problem subspaces were found to be more suitable for one type of fuzzy rule than others and, therefore, by integrating multiple types of fuzzy rules together, a better prediction can be made. The type of fuzzy rule assigned to each unique problem subspace also provides additional understanding of its characteristics. The Integrated Temporal and Spatial Multi-Model System is a different approach to integrating two contrasting views of the problem for better results. The temporal model uses recent data and the spatial model uses historical data to make the prediction. By combining the two through a dynamic contribution adjustment function, the system is able to provide stable yet accurate prediction on real world data modelling problems that have intermittently changing patterns. The personalised regression model is designed for classification problems. With the understanding that real world data modelling problems often involve noisy or irrelevant variables and the number of input vectors in each class may be highly imbalanced, these issues make the definition of unique problem subspaces less accurate. The proposed method uses a model selection system based on an incremental feature selection method to select the best set of features. A global model is then created based on this set of features and then optimised using training input vectors in the test input vector’s vicinity. This approach focus on the definition of the problem space and put emphasis the test input vector’s residing problem subspace. The novel generic prediction methods listed above have been applied to the following three real world data modelling problems: 1. Renal function evaluation which achieved higher accuracy than all other existing methods while allowing easy to understand rules to be extracted from the model for future studies. 2. Milk volume prediction system for Fonterra achieved a 20% improvement over the method currently used by Fonterra. 3. Prognoses system for pregnancy outcome prediction (SCOPE), achieved a more stable and slightly better accuracy than traditional statistical methods. These solutions constitute a contribution to the area of applied information science. In addition to the above contributions, a data analysis software package, NeuCom, was primarily developed by the author prior and during the PhD study to facilitate some of the standard experiments and analysis on various case studies. This is a full featured data analysis and modelling software that is freely available for non-commercial purposes (see Appendix A for more details). In summary, many real world problems consist of many smaller problems. It was found beneficial to acknowledge the existence of these sub-problems and address them through the use of local or personalised models. The rules extracted from the local models also brought about the availability of new knowledge for the researchers and allowed more in-depth study of the sub-problems to be carried out in future research.

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  • Genetic Resources, Equity and International Law

    Guneratne, Camena Erica (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis examines the application of international law to the uses of agricultural crop plants termed plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. In particular, it asks the question, does international law regulate the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture so as to enable equity among nations in accessing these resources and sharing the benefits which arise from them? In answering this question this thesis will also consider several related issues which have arisen in the course of the international debate on this topic. These resources are closely entwined with the lives and livelihoods of certain categories of peoples such as indigenous peoples and farmers and local communities. In addition, they are critical for the economies, agricultural systems and food security of nations. The thesis question will not be considered in the abstract, but will rather be placed against the background of these issues, which will be continuously used to put the legal discourse into perspective. The legal analysis will focus on five international agreements which directly or indirectly regulate the use of crop plants. These five agreements are placed in two broad categories, i.e. environmental/conservation agreements and trade and property related agreements. The first category includes the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992 and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of 2001. The second category includes the Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991, the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of 1994, and several treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. In addition, since the topic raises issues of rights, certain human rights treaties and documents will also be used in the analysis. The current international conflict over plant genetic resources can be condensed into one of rights, human rights and property rights. The international treaties cited above have all contextualized the issue within a framework of property rights, setting out mechanisms for different forms of legal control of these resources. This thesis will argue that whatever the form and nature of such property rights, they cannot achieve equity in the use of crop plants. Rather the use of such rights results in violations of human rights.

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  • Evolving connectionist systems for adaptive decision support with application in ecological data modelling

    Soltic, Snjezana (2009-11-06T02:00:09Z)

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Ecological modelling problems have characteristics both featured in other modelling fields and specific ones, hence, methods developed and tested in other research areas may not be suitable for modelling ecological problems or may perform poorly when used on ecological data. This thesis identifies issues associated with the techniques typically used for solving ecological problems and develops new generic methods for decision support, especially suitable for ecological data modelling, which are characterised by: (1) adaptive learning, (2) knowledge discovery and (3) accurate prediction. These new methods have been successfully applied to challenging real world ecological problems. Despite the fact that the number of possible applications of computational intelligence methods in ecology is vast, this thesis primarily concentrates on two problems: (1) species establishment prediction and (2) environmental monitoring. Our review of recent papers suggests that multi-layer perceptron networks trained using the backpropagation algorithm are most widely used of all artificial neural networks for forecasting pest insect invasions. While the multi-layer perceptron networks are appropriate for modelling complex nonlinear relationships, they have rather limited exploratory capabilities and are difficult to adapt to dynamically changing data. In this thesis an approach that addresses these limitations is proposed. We found that environmental monitoring applications could benefit from having an intelligent taste recognition system possibly embedded in an autonomous robot. Hence, this thesis reviews the current knowledge on taste recognition and proposes a biologically inspired artificial model of taste recognition based on biologically plausible spiking neurons. The model is dynamic and is capable of learning new tastants as they become available. Furthermore, the model builds a knowledge base that can be extracted during or after the learning process in form of IF-THEN fuzzy rules. It also comprises a layer that simulates the influence of taste receptor cells on the activity of their adjacent cells. These features increase the biological relevance of the model compared to other current taste recognition models. The proposed model was implemented in software on a single personal computer and in hardware on an Altera FPGA chip. Both implementations were applied to two real-world taste datasets.In addition, for the first time the applicability of transductive reasoning for forecasting the establishment potential of pest insects into new locations was investigated. For this purpose four types of predictive models, built using inductive and transductive reasoning, were used for predicting the distributions of three pest insects. The models were evaluated in terms of their predictive accuracy and their ability to discover patterns in the modelling data. The results obtained indicate that evolving connectionist systems can be successfully used for building predictive distribution models and environmental monitoring systems. The features available in the proposed dynamic systems, such as on-line learning and knowledge discovery, are needed to improve our knowledge of the species distributions. This work laid down the foundation for a number of interesting future projects in the field of ecological modelling, robotics, pervasive computing and pattern recognition that can be undertaken separately or in sequence.

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  • Tree-based Density Estimation: Algorithms and Applications

    Schmidberger, Gabi (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Data Mining can be seen as an extension to statistics. It comprises the preparation of data and the process of gathering new knowledge from it. The extraction of new knowledge is supported by various machine learning methods. Many of the algorithms are based on probabilistic principles or use density estimations for their computations. Density estimation has been practised in the field of statistics for several centuries. In the simplest case, a histogram estimator, like the simple equalwidth histogram, can be used for this task and has been shown to be a practical tool to represent the distribution of data visually and for computation. Like other nonparametric approaches, it can provide a flexible solution. However, flexibility in existing approaches is generally restricted because the size of the bins is fixed either the width of the bins or the number of values in them. Attempts have been made to generate histograms with a variable bin width and a variable number of values per interval, but the computational approaches in these methods have proven too difficult and too slow even with modern computer technology. In this thesis new flexible histogram estimation methods are developed and tested as part of various machine learning tasks, namely discretization, naive Bayes classification, clustering and multiple-instance learning. Not only are the new density estimation methods applied to machine learning tasks, they also borrow design principles from algorithms that are ubiquitous in artificial intelligence: divide-andconquer methods are a well known way to tackle large problems by dividing them into small subproblems. Decision trees, used for machine learning classification, successfully apply this approach. This thesis presents algorithms that build density estimators using a binary split tree to cut a range of values into subranges of varying length. No class values are required for this splitting process, making it an unsupervised method. The result is a histogram estimator that adapts well even to complex density functions a novel density estimation method with flexible density estimation ability and good computational behaviour. Algorithms are presented for both univariate and multivariate data. The univariate histogram estimator is applied to discretization for density estimation and also used as density estimator inside a naive Bayes classifier. The multivariate histogram, used as the basis for a clustering method, is applied to improve the runtime behaviour of a well-known algorithm for multiple-instance classification. Performance in these applications is evaluated by comparing the new approaches with existing methods.

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  • Educational leadership for international partnerships between New Zealand and east Asian Chinese higher education institutions

    Ho, Ai-Hsin (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This study examines how higher education leaders in different socio-cultural contexts are involved in the practice of distributed leadership in international partnerships. This study employs socio-cultural theorising to help explain the 22 New Zealand, Singaporean, Chinese and Taiwanese higher education leaders' multiple experiences, perceptions and practices in international partnerships. In this study, socio-cultural theorising entails a view of constructivist epistemology and the ontology of constructive realism. Grounded theory methodology and Wallner's strangifications were employed to acquire, analyse, interpret and compare qualitative data across different contexts in this study. Semi-structured interviewing and document collection were the methods used for data generation. The findings suggest that distributed leadership in international higher education partnerships should move beyond simply arranging formal leadership roles, responsibilities, and resources. Distributed leadership in such cross-cultural contexts should be conceived as an inclusive approach to multiple leadership practices. Five interrelated key elements of distributed leadership emerged. They are formal arrangements, enhanced leadership opportunities, understanding the context, sustainability and learning. All the key elements entailed certain levels and aspects of learning. Learning and distributed leadership practices are closely intertwined and informing each other. A conceptual framework for the learning and practice of distributed leadership in international partnership is proposed to theorise the relationship between three sources of learning of distributed leadership, and multiple distributed leadership practices. The three sources of learning identified in this study are understandings of the context (in actuality), prior knowledge (in lifeworlds), and knowledge of leadership capital, issues and factors (in microworlds). This study provides wider implications for education practitioners in other contexts to explore in international partnerships how social, cultural and economic forms leadership capital can be successfully distributed, exchanged and sustained, and how higher education leaders at all levels can actively participate and learn in international partnerships. Recommendations for researchers to conduct cross-cultural studies are provided.

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  • Student Culture and Binge Drinking

    McEwan, Brett James (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    New Zealand student culture has had a strong tradition of alcohol use. Research, both in New Zealand and internationally, has identified halls of residence student drinkers as at more risk of alcohol-related harm than their same age non-resident and non-student peers. This research project investigates the relationship between student culture and binge drinking behaviour within the University of Waikato's halls of residence student population. It combines qualitative and quantitative methods encompassing focus groups, individual face-to-face interviews, and a survey questionnaire completed by sixty percent of the resident student population. The resulting data are set within the context of existing literature on student drinking behaviour and student culture, and the analysis is undertaken using a combination of grounded theory and statistical analysis. The study reveals that binge drinking behaviour was viewed by the majority of residents as a normal component of student culture, with one-half of male residents who drink and one-third of female drinking residents becoming intoxicated on a weekly basis. Contrary to the popular perception that student drinking behaviour is an uncontrolled activity however, the majority of residents' practised 'controlled intoxication' while drinking. Overall, most residents enjoyed their drinking experiences and showed a high level of tolerance towards many alcohol-related harms. There is clear evidence that resident drinking behaviour impacts adversely upon residents, with one-half of residents having experienced academic and/or physical harms, and twenty percent reporting sexual encounters they later regretted. One-third of residents had also felt unsafe due to the drinking behaviour of others. Adopting the precepts of a social-ecological approach, this thesis argues that a range of multi-level harm-minimisation strategies targeting resident drinking behaviour are required, in conjunction with renewed efforts to effect change in the New Zealand drinking culture. Fifteen alcohol-intervention initiatives are recommended which variously target the individual drinker, the halls of residence environment, the institutional environment, and the local community drinking environment. The national drinking environment is also pursued through recommendations advocating legislative change to make it an offence to be intoxicated in a public place, and through social marketing strategies which encourage peer feedback, the shaming of intoxicated behaviour, and the continued emphasis on the association between drinking and its adverse effects.

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  • Supply Chain Integration: A Case-based Investigation of Status, Barriers, and Paths to Enhancement.

    Boehme, Tillmann (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    In a global marketplace supply chain integration is recognised to be one of today's competitive advantages; where the aim is to optimise material- and information-flows inside the focal company and also across supply chain companies. However, many academics report that such supply chain excellence is still rare, and that guidance is missing on how supply chain integration is achieved in practise. This exploratory research utilised a stepwise methodology to investigate pathways to supply chain integration. First, a suitable investigation method was identified and further developed, before being used to assess the current status of supply chain integration in New Zealand. Next, because removal of barriers is recognised to be crucial, the internal and external barriers to supply chain integration were investigated. Finally, longitudinal case studies were used to investigate ways of supply chain integration enhancement and to develop a deeper and more complete understanding of current integration status, barriers, and ways of enhancement. In total, some 240 person days were spent in eleven different companies from multiple industry sectors to investigate supply chain integration in practise. Current practises of a large sample of New Zealand value streams were evaluated using the Quick Scan Audit Methodology. The Quick Scan Audit Methodology is carried out by a team of researchers (investigator triangulation) which utilise multiple and rigorous data collection techniques and methods (data- and method triangulation). The research revealed that supply chain integration practise rarely resembles the theoretical ideal and, similarly, seldom do available supply chain integration models reflect reality. Also, New Zealand value streams are significantly less integrated on the customer side compared to the supplier side. Further, every case company was found to face significant barriers to supply chain integration. Managerial, socio-cultural factors are the major obstacles to internal supply chain integration resulting in functional silos. Similarly, power and dependency issues limit the levels of integration achieved externally. The research revealed that good top management support and favourable external dependencies offer the best setting for enhancing supply chain integration in practise. However, if a focal company lacks top management support and/or has an unfavourable dependency structure, the focal company chooses the path of least resistance when integrating its supply chain. Also, supply chain managers and change agents address people factors and cultural change first, before addressing either internal process issues or external relationship issues; after which communication technology upgrades are addressed. Finally, this exploratory study yielded some early insights that the speed of supply chain integration development in practise follows a learning curve trajectory.

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