In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to those who have contributed to this thesis and supported me in one way or the other during this amazing journey.
First of all, I am extremely grateful to my main supervisor, Professor Qing Wang, for her guidance and all the useful discussions and brainstorming sessions, especially during the difficult conceptual development stage. Her deep insights helped me at various stages of my research. I also remain indebted for her understanding and support during the times when I was really down and depressed due to personal family problems.
My sincere gratitude is reserved for Professor Lloyd C. Harris for his invaluable insights and suggestions. I really appreciate his willingness to meet me at short notice every time and going through several drafts of my thesis. I remain amazed that despite his busy schedule, he was able to go through the final draft of my thesis and meet me in less than a week with comments and suggestions on almost every page. He is an inspiration.
Very special thanks to the Warwick Business School for giving me the opportunity to carry out my doctoral research and for their financial support. It would have been impossible for me to even start my study had they not given me a scholarship in my first year. I am also honoured that I was appointed to the first PhD part time teaching position in the school during the second year of my study which was subsequently extended to the third year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Associate Professor Scott Dacko and Professor Amanda Broderick - my viva examiners, for their very helpful comments and suggestions.
Heartfelt thanks goes to my mentor, Mr. Grier Palmer for taking me under his wing. I will never forget his support and for providing me numerous opportunities to learn and develop as a teacher.
PhD students often talk about loneliness during the course of their study but this is something which I never experienced at Warwick. A heartfelt thanks to the really supportive and active Malaysian community here in Coventry and all my friends who made the Warwick experience something special, in particular, Nicos, Martin, John Dilip, Luiz, Roberta, Mo, Kabir, Charoula, Arben, Ihsan, Rupal, Zaman, Malik, Bang, Zikri, Khadijah, Wolfgang and Mel. Special thanks to Emma for proof reading my final draft.
I am also indebted to my friends Amrul, Mozard and Nana, not only for all their useful suggestions but also for being there to listen when I needed an ear.
A big “Thank you!” also goes out to everybody who participated in this study including all my blogger friends who helped promote my online questionnaire on their blogs.
Words cannot express the feelings I have for my parents and my in-laws for their constant unconditional support - both emotionally and financially. I would not be here if it not for you. Special thanks are also due to my sis-in-law Eju and her husband, Muz for their amazing support. It is amazing to have family close by so far away from home.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the most important person in my life – my wife Ezlika. She has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. There were times during the past four years when everything seemed hopeless and I didn’t have any hope. I can honestly say that it was only her determination and constant encouragement (and sometimes a kick on my backside when I needed one) that ultimately made it possible for me to see this project through to the end.
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