College of Business and Law - Doctoral Theses

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    Labour market segmentation and change: the case of female workers in the higher education sector in Saudi Arabia
    (University College Cork, 2023) Alqurashi, Bayan Naif A.; Leka, Stavroula; O'Brien, Elaine; Beck, Matthias
    Research indicates that female workers in the Middle East experience barriers in their labour market access and mobility. However, little is known about the impact of labour market modernization on the job and labour market experiences of this group of workers. This qualitative study was designed to explore, with a sample of female academics, the impact of labour market change on their jobs and working conditions. The rationale for this research emanates from the researcher’s desire to understand labour market change and the ways this change is impacting the job and labour market experiences of female workers. It was the researcher’s assumption that gaining a deep and holistic understanding of female workers’ job and labour market experiences would support the development of effective policy interventions that are attuned to the reality of female works in a changing segmented labour market and mitigate unintended negative consequences on their wellbeing. The purposefully selected sample was composed of 30 Saudi-national female academics who were drawn from different higher education institutions across Saudi Arabia. The primary data collection method was in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data was systematically coded and thematically analysed. Analysis and interpretation of findings were based on the literature review and answering the research three questions: (1) female workers’ mobility patterns and the labour market structure for female workers, (2) the ways institutional factors shape and impact academic jobs, and (3) psychosocial working conditions in academic jobs, their impact by labour market change, and implications for faculty wellbeing. This research found that female workers face a structural obstacle of limited job opportunity upon their entry to the labour market which forces them to compromise on the quality of their early career jobs. However, institutional change in the labour market is expanding their labour market opportunity. Second, public higher education institutions constitute internal labour markets where access to employment is controlled whereas private higher education institutions operate in an external competitive labour market where employment is subject to market factors. Third, the relationship the higher education institution has with state funding and the employment system followed in the employment of female academics differentiate compensation, employment stability, and employee training for this group of workers across the higher education labour market. Fourth, academic jobs are meaningful, include social support, and provide opportunity for development while at the same time lack job clarity in some areas, include restriction in job autonomy as well as time pressure. Nevertheless, academic jobs are considered good jobs by labour market standards and resourceful by organizational psychology standards and these characteristics combined render them supportive of faculty wellbeing. Recommendations are offered for future research, policy, and practice. Given the institutional complexity of the research context and acknowledging that context varies across cultures and economies, the research findings should be transferred to situations sharing key characteristics and the recommendations considered for their appropriateness for the situation of interest.
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    The competitiveness of the Irish dairy industry in the global market: farm to trade
    (University College Cork, 2023) Cele, Lungelo Prince; Hennessey, Thia; Eakins, John; Thorne, Fiona; Teagasc
    The removal of the EU milk quota in 2015 has increased the exposure of the Irish dairy industry to international competitors and has raised the question of how competitive is the Irish dairy industry in the global market. The purpose of this thesis was to measure Irish dairy sector –competitiveness by examining the interaction between the farming system and the trading system of processed dairy products in the global market. In the context of the removal of the EU milk quota in 2015, it examined the competitiveness trends and rankings of the Irish dairy sector at the farm and trade levels, relative to selected European Union (EU) Member States. In 2019, Ireland was the third-largest exporter of butter in the world butter market and Irish butter prices were more volatile than other Irish dairy products. Despite the significance of butter in the dairy industry, empirical research that examines the market price dynamics and international competitor behaviour in the butter market has remained scarce. The thesis contributed to the objectives of the Food Wise 2025 and the Food Vision 2030 policies by examining the dynamics between farm milk and butter prices (linking farm and trade levels) to ensure that there is a transfer of benefits from trade to farmers through price transparency. Competitiveness indicators including partial productivity measures and accountancy-based indicators were used for farm competitiveness, and net export market share and normalised revealed comparative advantage were used for export competitiveness. A stochastic meta-frontier approach was adopted for comparing Irish regional farm technical efficiencies (proxy for farm competitiveness). The vector error correction model was applied to test the extent to which changes in competitor prices and farm milk prices had an impact on Irish butter prices. It was also used to measure the competitiveness integration relationship between global butter competitors. Amongst the countries examined, Ireland had the highest growth in partial productivity indicators and was ranked first with the lowest total costs and cash costs per kg of milk solids post-quota amongst the main European competitor countries examined. The potential challenge for Irish dairy farmers is how to lessen the relatively high land and labour costs to come in line with the main European competitor countries, which can limit farm competitiveness in the long-run. Based on the Irish regional farm technical efficiencies, the findings suggested that policies aiming to promote labor use and soil quality improvement in the East region would be useful for improving efficiency in that region post-quota. The findings also suggested that policies that related to discussion groups and management of herd size in the South region would also be useful for improving efficiency in that region post-quota. Some farms expanded beyond their optimal scale leading to a reduction in efficiency levels, especially in a region like the South West. That pointed to the need to tailor farm advice and promote caution in relation to farm expansion decisions. The regional growth patterns and insights may be used for adapting the national policy frameworks to regions in policy dialogues, i.e. to achieve the Food Vision 2030 with ambitious targets set for expansion. While Irish dairy products, such as butter and powders, have demonstrated growth potential in competitiveness post-quota, other products, i.e. cheese and liquid milk have declined. Despite the growing competition in the global butter market, Ireland became the second most competitive country in the world and was advancing rapidly at the time of analysis. Irish butter was the only Irish dairy product that had maintained a comparative advantage. Irish butter prices were more responsive to shocks in New Zealand butter prices and Irish farm milk prices in the long-run with positive bidirectional causality effects. Based on the findings, Irish dairy farmers and processors were more susceptible to pricing decisions made by international butter processors. Irish butter exports were found to be less susceptible to competitiveness changes in Belgian butter exports and more sensitive to competitiveness changes in NZ butter exports. Consequently, the key players in the Irish dairy industry can now better position themselves in the global dairy market, recognising the competitiveness dynamics of the different dairy products and their competitors. The thesis policy recommendations and areas for future research were presented in the conclusion section.
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    Does the Irish common law of contract currently or potentially possess the tools necessary to achieve PECL’s good faith requirements?
    (University College Cork, 2022) Walsh, Raymond; Hedley, Stephen William
    There has been considerable interest at the highest levels of the EU in the establishment of a common European law of contract. Groundwork has been laid in furtherance of this objective, although it is unknown when, or even if, a common European law of contract will be achieved. Hope has been expressed that the EU member states will be guided by this groundwork in the development of their national laws of contract. This thesis demonstrates that the Irish law of contract will not be influenced to develop its doctrine of good faith substantially in the direction suggested. The groundwork is varied in source and content and contains no consensus as to the ideal duty of good faith. While it is acknowledged that the use of any of these sources is necessarily arbitrary in these circumstances, the good faith obligation set out in the Principles of European Contract Law can provide valuable guidance. In the Comment to Principles of European Contract Law, Hugh Beale briefly considered whether the common law possessed the tools necessary to achieve the good faith outcomes required by PECL. The analysis demonstrated that the tools available to the English judiciary at the time of the Comment’s publication were inadequate to PECL’s good faith requirements. This work will undertake a similar, but substantially broader, analysis: it will consider not only those tools which are currently available to the Irish judiciary but also those tools which are potentially available. Three questions are asked and answered. The first question is: what tools are potentially available to the Irish judiciary to substantially expand the principle of good faith in the direction required by PECL? The thesis will demonstrate that the reasonable expectations good faith model and an Australian-style doctrine of estoppel are the only tools which are realistically available. The second question is: can these tools, in combination with the tools which are currently available to the Irish judiciary (the so-called ‘piecemeal solutions’), achieve PECL’s good faith objectives? The thesis will demonstrate that these tools would be insufficient to achieve PECL’s requirements. The third question is: why are the tools incapable of achieving PECL’s objectives? The thesis will demonstrate that the answer lies in the common law’s commitment to the individualistic ideal. The thesis demonstrates that nothing short of national or EU legislation will work to introduce a duty of good faith of PECL’s scope into Irish law, as Ireland’s common law system is ideologically resistant to such a development.
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    Utilising organisational mindful routines to mitigate patient risks during a crisis: a view from within
    (University College Cork, 2022) Flynn, Ger; Nagle, Tadhg; Fitzgerald, Ciara; Historical Society of the Episcopal Church
    Modern healthcare is complex, encompassing numerous interconnecting elements such as people, technology, data and organisational routines to safeguard patient safety and maintain public confidence. Crises are disruptive phenomena that present a restricted amount of time to respond, testing the reliability and appropriateness of these interconnecting elements to their extreme. Organisational Mindfulness (OM), is accredited for developing awareness in volatile, uncertain, and complex circumstances such as healthcare delivery and its application is promoted as a method of achieving high reliability (Weick et al., 2008; Davidson and Begley, 2012; Bennett and Lemoine, 2014; Svalgaard, 2018). Positioned at the intersection of crisis management and resilience, this study links crises, OM, organisational routines, and the role of data for pre-empting and containing crises situations. Organisational routines are conceptualised as sources of stability. However, when organisations are suddenly faced with a crisis, organisational routines that contain mindless elements may weaken the organisations resilience diminishing the reliability of the response to the disruption. Where an organisations’s core function is healthcare then unreliable responses to a crisis can be detrimental to the safety of the patient. This study explores the multimodality of processes by which organisations respond and adapt to a catastrophic event including improvising. Positioned within the genre of personally relevant research, the core motivation of the thesis is driven by a desire of the author (the National Clinical Head of Medical Devices - HSE) to enhance organisational resilience to mitigate the risk to the patient. The methodologies of ‘inquiry from the inside' (Paper One and Paper Three) and Analytic Autoethnographic (Paper Two) are used to contextualise crises, providing rich insight to the disruption caused from living the experience. 'The outcome of this research provides a deep understanding of all the contrasting crises that threatened the safety of the patient. The thesis contributes eight OM routines with mindful data as the foremost novel contributions. Paper One highlights where a crisis was triggered by hidden endogenous elements that culminated in a mindless decision to replace ultrasound scanners. The study offers a routine practice contribution by highlighting the dangers and benefits of the mindless routine, ‘Learned Helplessness’. ‘Learned Helplessness’ routine uncovered through OM analysis had devastating effects on patient safety but paradoxically also allowed the organisation to function during the crisis. In addition, the study reveals the 'Technology Scapegoating' routine, which highlights the dangers of impulsiveness to place technology as the source of error, rather than people. Paper Two illustrates where the characteristics of the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis suddenly made an organisational process inappropriate, generating unprecedented disruptions that posed an extreme risk to patient safety. The concept of the ‘Pursuit of Certainty’ routine is offered as a mindful routine contribution suggesting that process deviations guided by OM during crises can improve the reliability of the organisation achieving its objective. Paper Three contributes mindful data where a resilient data supply chain focused appropriate actions necessary to manage the essential elements within the critical care environment during the third wave of COVID-19. The concept of ‘mindful data’ ensures the right data is captured from the right people, and in an accurate fashion, reducing the risk of errors or failures in its provision and use. The outcome of the study on crises highlights the devastating effects on patient safety that mindless routines can have if not uncovered within an organisation. Motivated by a desire to enhance organisational resilience to mitigate patient risks during crises, this study contributes eight OM routines to achieve this objective. This study on crises highlights the reliable agility offered by mindful routines and the benefit of purposeful mindful data for coping with the many adverse evolving challenges that sudden crises present.
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    Involuntary admission of young people to approved centres in Ireland: finding the voice of the young person a rights-based perspective
    (University College Cork, 2022) Ralston, Joanna; Donnelly, Mary; Murray, Claire
    This thesis applies a children’s rights-based perspective to the involuntary admission of young people to an approved centre in Ireland. Children’s rights are an important evolving component of human rights-based law. This thesis is concerned with the voice of the young person, aged 16-18 years, in the involuntary admission process and the evaluation of proposals for reform. Given the prevalence of young people with mental health difficulties in Ireland and our domestic and legal obligations to ensure that their voices are heard in all matters that affect them, it is timely to consider the extent to which this is achieved in the mental health context and to consider proposals for reform. As part of this evaluation this thesis answers three research questions. First, what is the legal basis for the recognition of the voice of the young person in respect of their mental health? Secondly, how is the voice of the young person currently heard in Irish mental health law and policy? And thirdly, how effective are the proposed reforms of the mental health legal framework and the District Court? The purpose of this engagement with a children’s rights-based approach is to evaluate the basis for the recognition of the voice of the young person. In the early chapters of this thesis this evaluation is based on the international standards of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This evaluation is also considered at a European level pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights. This evaluation is completed at a domestic level by considering how the voice of the young person is protected under the Irish Constitution. This thesis looks beyond the law to fully appreciate what happens in practice during the involuntary admission process. To this end the research is enhanced by the inclusion of an empirical study consisting of interviews with a range of professionals involved in the involuntary admission of young people and court observation. However, the thesis also acknowledges the tensions and the disconnect between the findings of the empirical study and other direct evidence from studies concerning young people. Suggestions are made in the final chapters of this thesis regarding how the proposed reforms of the Mental Health Act, 2001 might be further amended to ensure that young people with mental health difficulties are provided with an opportunity to have a meaningful say concerning their mental health.