UNSW Canberra

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • (2022) Chen, Wenxin
    Projects account for 20%–40% of all economic activity (Schoper et al., 2018). They are the main vehicle for achieving organizational strategies (Kwak & Anbari, 2009). Despite this, the rates of project success remain low. Many researchers point to project governance as a key factor in improving project success (Crawford et al., 2008). In that light, a key focus in this thesis is the role of project sponsors in project governance, particularly their relationships with project managers and project teams by way of formal and informal governance mechanisms. However, little is understood about the interplay between two major types of governance mechanisms, formal and informal, regarded as either substitutes or complements. This lack of understanding can be attributed to two factors: (1) a lack of a holistic and dynamic perspective in developing project governance mechanisms and (2) little consideration of project sponsors’ cognitive barriers in implementing the governance mechanisms. This thesis draws on Yin-Yang and mindfulness theories to explore whether and how an appropriate balance can be established between complementary yet conflicting project governance mechanisms, with a view to project performance. Three Chinese case studies were conducted to verify the usefulness of Yin-Yang principles in guiding the interplay of formal and informal governance mechanisms and the importance of the project sponsor’s mindfulness in balancing the governance mechanisms. The case studies suggest this approach may enhance the project’s performance.

  • (2022) Taher, Toiaba
    Participatory conservation embraces the idea that nature and people can, and must, work together to manage biodiversity sustainably. Significant live examples—such as that of the Sundarbans mangroves in Bangladesh—suggest that layers of complexity underpin ideas of participatory conservation, often confounding its goals to produce positive outcomes for both nature and people. The Sundarbans of Bangladesh, part of the world’s largest mangrove forest, faces several human-induced challenges, including overharvesting of non-timber forest products and expansion of the commercial shrimp industry. Since 2010, a comprehensive plan has been in place to protect the forest and the 76 communities living there, following the principles of co-management—one of the early participatory approaches in conservation. However, outcomes from the strategies implemented as part of this plan remain unclear. I applied an interdisciplinary mixed-methods ethnographic methodology with an interpretative constructivist perspective to comprehensively evaluate the practised participatory conservation in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. This research is the first to conduct a detailed policy evaluation related to the Bangladesh Sundarbans and its local communities by considering the Kalinchi community as a single case study. Analysis of economic, social, and environmental policies, land use land cover changes, and income analysis are used to examine the appropriateness of practised conservation in this mangrove. This thesis also provides the first-ever detailed qualitative evaluation of participation practised under the co-management arrangements in the Bangladesh Sundarbans, combining the selected community’s lived experiences with the policy administrators’ and practitioners’ perceptions. The empirical evidence from this research suggests that a limited consideration of historical and institutional contexts in conservation planning has restricted the possibility of success. Feelings of negativity and disenchantment expressed by the Kalinchi community indicate that the enabling factors of effective participatory conservation – namely, the highest degrees of engagement and empowerment – were neither enacted nor achieved in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. While the motivations of policy administrators might have been well-intentioned, their assumptions that appeared to have been brought to the processes of participatory conservation saw policy practitioners label the communities living in the Sundarbans as the problem. Tokenistic participation was performed in exchange for the communities’ conservation compliance rather than to facilitate genuine engagement on how they interact with this mangrove ecosystem and what might be altered or initiated to improve the forest and its people’s wellbeing. The research ultimately shows that positive implementation of participatory conservation relies on the motives and practices of decision-makers and their active, nuanced and balanced consideration of the social and political contexts confronting local communities. Until this happens, participatory conservation is doomed to fail in delivering its promises. It is hoped that lessons from this thesis will deliver evidence and provide inspiration for what might be able to be achieved for the next phase of conservation in the Sundarbans and elsewhere.

  • (2022) Sun, Shuyun
    Despite recognition that using digital technology contributes to business growth, entrepreneurship research lacks a complete picture of how digital (technology) users become entrepreneurs. The primary goal of this study is, therefore, to understand the context, process and drivers of digital-user entrepreneurs. Specifically, this study identifies three literature gaps. First, many scholars theorise digital technology as an entrepreneurial environment. However, this perspective overshadows an alternative explanation for entrepreneurial success: actor agency. This study integrates the digital technology perspective and actor agency to explore the role social media plays in enabling its users to become entrepreneurs. Second, while there are some studies on social media-based businesses, few consider the emergence of social media user entrepreneurs. To address this issue, the present study explores the process social media users engage in to become entrepreneurs. Finally, few studies investigate the drivers of social media user entrepreneurs. To address this gap, the study explores why individuals use social media to become influencer entrepreneurs – an emerging type of social media user entrepreneurs. This study draws on a qualitative research methodology that utilises a single embedded case study involving the Chinese social media platform Weibo. The embedded case study examines 12 user journeys as they transition from being social media users into becoming influencers and then influencers into entrepreneurs. The dataset includes two phases of semi-structured interviews with 33 participants, documentary analysis and netnography. The study contributes to digital entrepreneurship research by i) identifying four key enabling mechanisms that characterise a social media platform as an entrepreneurial environment; ii) revealing a process that includes four main stages where individuals strategically use social media to become entrepreneurs; and, iii) uncovering two main drivers that motivate individuals’ engagement with social media along their entrepreneurial journey. The study also provides a practical roadmap for individuals to select the social media platform they will need to use and the strategies they will need to apply to social media use if they wish to become entrepreneurs. It also highlights the drivers that enable or hinder their use of social media to progress in their entrepreneurial journey.

  • (2023) Yunespour, Ali Reza
    This research offers an in-depth analysis of higher education admission practices in Afghanistan and examines their ensuing (in)equities. It employs an historical approach to contextualise and explain the origin(s) of competitive admission exams known as Kankor and to analyse how the liberal state-building and constitutional market economy impacted the function, design, and delivery of higher education admissions from the fall of the first Taliban regime in 2001 until their return to power in August 2021. It uses qualitative evidence from semi-structured interviews and focus groups with diverse higher education stakeholders and qualitative content analysis of state-administered and private-administered admission exams. The thesis makes three scholarly contributions. First, it improves the nascent scholarship on higher education admissions in Afghanistan by examining admission practices in state- administered higher education institutions (SAHEIs) and, for the first time, in diverse privately administered higher education institutions (PAHEIs). Second, it offers a unique example of a higher education admission model from a fragile or conflict affected society to enhance the growing literature on higher education admission models across the world and explains its ensuing and context-specific (in)equities. Third, this research contributes to scholarly knowledge on education and higher education in Afghanistan (and, more broadly, higher education in emergencies). It demonstrates that imbalances at all levels of education and wider socio-economic inequalities have historically contributed to gender, geographic, and socio- economic inequities in higher education admissions in Afghanistan. It further argues that marketised Kankor preparation, delivery of centralised Kankor exams in SAHEIs, market-led admission practices in PAHEIs, and the design and content of Kankor questions contributed to absolute and relative (in)equities in higher education admissions over the past two decades. The fall of Kabul to the Taliban last year disrupted some of the education and higher education gains of the past 20 years and raised renewed fears especially for the education rights of girls and women in this country. This research presents a nuanced analysis of how girls and women and other social cohorts were (or were not) admitted in higher education institutions under different regimes in Afghanistan. There are many lessons from past triumphs and failures for future rulers in Afghanistan.

  • (2023) Boer-Cueva, Alba
    The concepts of empowerment and (in)security have increasingly received theoretical and programmatic attention across international studies and policy frameworks in development, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction. Their integration, however, particularly into mainstream peacebuilding discourse and practice, is leading to growing tensions that result from the assumption of a positive relationship between the achievement of women’s empowerment and security – both on a personal level for women and in general for society, through, for example, the maintenance of peace. While lacking consensus, these concepts continue to be embedded within apparently neutral documents, including peace agreements, which assume their meaning is stable and uncontested. Situating myself in feminist peace research and adopting a decolonial feminist approach, I trouble the assumed positive nature of the relationship between women’s empowerment and security, and contribute to theoretical deliberations by highlighting other locations and sources of expertise. I do this by drawing on four supporting concepts: spatio-temporality, intersectionality, identity, and knowability. Specifically, I engage with women’s stories about peace and conflict, and particularly their experiences and conceptualisations of empowerment and (in)security through a case study of Colombia’s contemporary conflict and the peacebuilding process with FARC-EP. Drawing on 43 interviews, I offer a theorisation of women’s empowerment in relation to (in)security as a co-constituted, intersectional, embodied, and spatio-temporal process. I argue that women’s intersecting identities are located and produced in structural relations of power that determine not only how they are known, but how and why they conceptualise their empowerment and (in)security in different ways. I further argue that women in peacebuilding contexts are constituted in and through different spatio-temporalities of violence, in ways that do not map onto hegemonic binaries of urban/rural or conflict/post-conflict. My analysis encourages a critical examination of the instrumentalisation of women and gender in peacebuilding processes, and the need to engage with women’s meaning-making and strategic activism by foregrounding their multiple ways of knowing otherwise in conflict and peacebuilding. Ultimately, this research and its decolonial feminist approach to knowledge cultivation in the academy draws its significance from its call to action, to bring about more meaningful, transdisciplinary, co-created analyses of peace, violence, and conflict.