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Issue 13 - June 2015

Title An inclusive education initiative for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan
Author - Dina Baimoldina, Agash Kudysheva  
Summary - This paper discusses the implementation of an inclusive approach to the provision of education for primary school children with autism in a centre in Kazakstan. The research seeks to identify recommendations that can be used as a model for the provision of primary education across Kazakstan. [read full article]

Title The Evolution of a New Technological University in Terms of Policy Definition and Control of Implementation
Author - Deborah Brennan, Kevin Kelly 
Summary - This paper derives from a doctoral case study completed in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in 2008. The main issues of the case study are still being addressed today as DIT prepares to amalgamate with the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) and Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) in 2015. The combined new organisation will become a university in 2016 and is in the process of a move to a greenfield site. The rate and scope of these changes are challenging for all concerned. Through a series of interviews and focus groups in 2008 a story of DIT emerged. The McNay model was used as a Conceptual Framework and Analytical Tool to examine various types of university model and compare them with the cultures, practices and understandings of stakeholders in the DIT. The classic entrepreneurial model from the USA was shown to be unlikely to be successful, largely because of the Institute’s inability to raise money on the scale of the US model. The corporate model using managerialist practice was also rejected by stakeholders. It was concluded that a European style of University with Collegial Innovation was appropriate, that bureaucracy needed be greatly reduced and that the culture and power residing within the organisation must be acknowledged in the process of change. [read full article]

Title An investigation into the impediments to tacit knowledge transfer
Author - Elva Duggan
Summary - This article describes a recent research study which conducted a systematic empirical investigation into the impediments to successful tacit knowledge transfer using  a literature review, qualitative semi-structured interviews with six senior managers and a short questionnaire survey which was completed by each interviewee. The semi-structured interviews consisted of a detailed examination of tacit knowledge transfers including articulation of tacit knowledge, how long tacit knowledge takes to learn, methods of transfer and how long tacit knowledge transfer takes both to impart and to receive. Detailed analysis of the interview transcripts and survey data identified a number of common themes which  are addressed in this article under five thematic headings as follows: Actions Speak Louder than Words; Lost in Translation; Variety is the Spice of Life; Practice Makes Perfect; and No Man is an Island.
The findings for the research confirmed the initial hypothesis that tacit knowledge transfer is highly problematic, and much more so than previous research suggests. It also confirmed that tacit knowledge transfer is a socially constructed activity that is rooted in action, is difficult to articulate and is imparted and learnt in a myriad of ways. The main conclusion drawn is that successful tacit knowledge transfer requires both a passage of time and repeated practice, and that such knowledge transfer is therefore extremely complex, highly personal, learnt in context, actively engaged with and reflected upon over time. Further research is required into the role of the body, the value of making mistakes, the difficulties in articulation of concepts of instinct and intuition, different learning styles and their impact on successful tacit knowledge transfer methods, the interweaving of the passage of time and continued repetition necessary to ensure successful tacit knowledge transfer. [read full article]

Title Work-life Balance Practices among Irish Hotel Employees and Implications for HRM
Author - Kathleen Farrell
Summary- The aim of this article is to examine work-life balance in the Irish hotel sector from an employee perspective with implications for HRM.  This particular article presents part of a larger study on work flexibility and work-family balance (Farrell, 2012). The study included a survey of managers and employees. Two-hundred and forty-six questionnaires from employees were returned which was a 22% response rate from the original sample group.
The research data show that company benefits were not associated with numerical flexibility, but associated with functional flexibility and work-life balance supports.  This would suggest an integrated approach to human resource management (HRM) whereby some companies engage in a contemporary, employee-focused approach, whereas other companies tend to be more traditional.  The study advances the literature on the link between work-life balance programmes and other HRM practices such as company benefits and functional flexibility.  We see that educational reasons and time for leisure were significant drivers of work-life balance arrangements. The research concludes that hotels need to put in place more organisational supports such as work assistance and care supports for employees to achieve a better balance between work and life. [read full article]

Title Enhancing Real Life Expertise in Construction using Virtual Environment Simulation
Author - Garrett Keenaghan
Summary - This article progresses the research cycles outlined in the Level3 article of March 2015. It starts with sufficient information for the reader to understand the first stages, and subsequently explains the thinking behind the third cycle and the rationale for testing through an expert focus group. This includes the analytical questions to be posed to the focus group regarding the possible theoretical underpinnings of the virtual learning scenario device and consensus towards further development and testing. [read full article]

Title Work-related Stress: Survey of academic staff in the Institutes of Technology Sector
Author - Aidan Kenny
Summary - This article presents findings from a survey of professional workers in the institutes of technology sector in Ireland regarding work-related stress. The research instrument was based on a work-related stress questionnaire developed by the UK Health and Safety Executive, augmented with a specific subset of questions relevant to the Irish higher education sector. The questionnaire format was modified to enable online delivery. It was distributed to a sample population in 2014 with a response rate over 30% (n=1,131).  The research provides baseline data on work-related stress levels experienced by workers in this sector. The results associate increased levels of risk of work-related stress in circumstances of poor consultation, lack of engagement with staff, excessive workload, demanding task with unrealistic deadlines and lack of support provided by management.  Low risk levels were associated with peer support and relationships. Good social relations between workers seem to assist in the alleviation of the risk.  The results support established research into work-related stress which claims that developing supportive working environments and work cultures can greatly assist in the reduction of risk levels.[read full article]

Title Building and the Art of Resilience Education for Sustainable Development in Construction Education Author - Conor McManus
Summary - This article starts with a review of policy documents and academic papers that demonstrate clearly the need to re-orientate the education system in order to advance society towards developing sustainably. It goes on to define Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and shows the role it has to play in building resilience in students and communities in order to meet the challenges ahead. The article then considers the implementation of ESD and the barriers to it, before looking at what this will mean for the construction education sector, how it has to change and how ESD principles can facilitate this change.[read full article]

Title An Investigation into the ‘Stickiness’ of Tacit Knowledge Transfer
Author - Alison Murray and Phil Hanlon
Summary - Managing knowledge is of central importance to organisational success (Chia, 2003). The focus of knowledge management systems has progressed from the management of explicit knowledge to management of  tacit knowledge.  The importance of tacit knowledge is highlighted by Wah (1999:27) who argues that 90% of the knowledge in any organisation is embedded and synthesised in people’s minds.  However, tacit knowledge is the specific type of knowledge that is characterised as extremely difficult to capture or to articulate (Nonaka, 1994). Academics and practitioners alike have gained an appreciation for this type of knowledge. Tacit knowledge has become recognised as a significant and advantageous part of the knowledge base of both individuals and organisations. However, in order for organisations to take full advantage of their current tacit knowledge base they must encourage individuals to both capture and transfer it.

This article addresses the difficulties associated with the capture and transfer of tacit knowledge.  Szulanski (2000) identified a concept he called ‘stickiness’ to describe the difficulty of this process.  It is generally assumed that tacit knowledge is both costly and time-consuming to transfer (Szulanski, 1995). It has been shown however, that tacit knowledge is transferred on a regular basis within organisations, sometimes with great difficulty and sometimes with ease. In order to assist both individuals and organisations in their attempt to transfer tacit knowledge we must first identify the obstacles that stand in their way.  Szulanski (2000) discussed eight areas of difficulty which are experienced during a knowledge transfer. He categorises them into two separate areas of the transfer, namely, knowledge characteristics and situational characteristics, with four difficulties identified within each. This paper uses these eight areas of difficulty as the bounds within which to test the ‘stickiness’ of tacit knowledge transfer.

The authors conducted a systematic empirical investigation into the ‘stickiness’ of tacit knowledge transfer through qualitative semi-structured interviews and an in-depth literature review. The semi-structured interviews consisted of a detailed examination of tacit knowledge transfers among IT support professionals and both integration and software engineers. The interviewees were asked to discuss in detail times when they were involved in a transfer of tacit knowledge, and were then probed for further information on the difficulties they experienced and the obstacles they encountered. Analysis of the interview transcripts showed a vast difference in the spread and significance of difficulties experienced during the transfer of tacit knowledge compared to that of knowledge in general. However, it is important to note that Szulanski’s eight areas of difficulty are a sufficient basis upon which to study tacit knowledge transfer. Three areas of difference stood out, firstly the influence of the source on the transfer of tacit knowledge is significantly stronger than that of knowledge in general, secondly the reasons for transferring incomplete knowledge varied greatly from that discussed by Szulanski, and finally the effect of organisation and industry culture on the likelihood of tacit knowledge transfer is considerably higher. Being aware of the difficulties that emerge during a tacit knowledge transfer allows those engaging in it to reduce these difficulties and to seek solutions to them. [read full article]

Title Тhe importance of Bologna-style credit-based training in Kazakhstan higher educational institutions Author - Liza Naviy, Nurgul Nurmukhanbetova, Anuarbek Kakabayev, Makhabbat Ramazanova 
Summary - This article discussed the reform of higher education in Kazakhstan following the Bologna model. In particular it deals with the use of credit-based systems and what advantages these systems are expected to bring both for students and for universities. [read full article]

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