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Mba dissertation example pdf


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This involves seeking out a research problem, deciding on a relevant literature [and a related set of primary and secondary sources where appropriate], employing an appropriate methodology and drawing your subsequent research together to offer a sustained and analytically reflective argument. By, defining, researching and writing a dissertation you will develop a valuable set of transferable skills: time management, meeting a deadline, initiative in deciding upon and locating relevant academic and empirical sources, problem-solving, developing a capacity for independent research, communicating effectively in writing, and working with academic and empirical.

Although researching and writing a dissertation is hard work, that experience can also be immensely satisfying and rewarding. When you begin, the dissertation will seem daunting. However, despite the inevitable anxiety, students who put in the work usually find that the dissertation is the most satisfying, interesting, and even enjoyable part of their postgraduate experience.

The dissertation develops many transferable skills that are highly valued by employers: effective time management, capacity for independent work, using your initiative in finding sources, and problem solving. Together with a good dissertation mark, the development of these skills enables your tutor to write a better reference for you. At the same time, employers will often inquiry about it and how you as a student went about doing your dissertation.

Part of the object of writing a dissertation is to enable students to learn how to define a research problem. Students should consult with their supervisors who will help them develop a topic for their dissertation and to narrow it to a research question. A student will choose a potential topic early in the first semester of a MBA degree in order and then decide upon a final topic by the end of the third week. By then, you will have needed to have read some of the literature about the chosen topic in order to develop or formulate a research question or problem.

In addition, in consultation with your supervisor, a student needs to ensure that the chosen topic can be done within the constraints of a MBA dissertation including ethic approval and that they will have access to the required materials, data, and academic literature. This flexibility reflects our desire that students define their own topics and pursue their intellectual interest.

MBA Dissertation Topics. Best University Dissertation Examples. Sample MBA Dissertations. If you enjoyed reading this post on the benefits of MBA dissertation PDF examples, I would be very grateful if you could help spread this knowledge by emailing this post to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you. View all posts by Steve Jones. Since writing a dissertation is to enable students to learn how to define a research problem, I really like how you provided examples to help students with their writing. This is a great resource for those just learning about dissertations and writing them. Thank you for this! No problem at all Ashley. We are always adding new material to the website as well as uploading new educational material to the blog.

I developed an amazing research question from the many MBA dissertation pdf examples. I was finding it way difficult to generate a problem statement, now my dissertation had a very high score in my course. Be sure to keep an eye out for the titles. Researching and communicating effectively in writing is hard work.

These factors are both external and internal to the organisations. The fact that donor funded organisations rely on external sources of funds means that factors external to the organisation play a significant role in modulating the business performance. These emanate from factors both internal and external to the organisation.

According to Nieman and Bennett 39 these factors are found in the market environment, micro-environment and the larger macro- environment. As Composite Health and its business unit, Vikela Project, are donor funded not-for-profit entities, the researcher in this part of the literature review will focus on challenges of donor funded not for profit organisations as they relate to the aim and objectives of this study.

Over-reliance and sometimes total reliance on donor funding means that the not-for-profit organisations are exposed to high financial risk in cases where donors withdraw or reduce their funding support. Thom 8 also noted that several agencies that traditionally fund money specifically for the control of HIV were reducing their pledges in year , impacting on donor funded projects such as the Vikela Project.

However, PEPFAR has had its budget for donor funds to not-for-profit organisations flattened or reduced for some sections between year and , causing scaling down or closure of some projects in these organisations in South Africa Sendziuk, These are distributed either directly by the corporate or through some form of established foundations or agencies.

Since the inception of the global economic crisis in , there has been a gradual and in some cases more rapid decline in CSI funding to NPOs Hanfstaengl, As CSI funding is generally pegged on the operational profits that the firms make, the economic slowdown impacted on donor funded entities such as Composite Health and the Vikela Project. One major challenge that donor funded organisations face is the increasing competition for donor funds Shiffman, As Knack and Rahman noted, there is an increasing focus by funders in South Africa to put more resources towards indigenous not-for-profit organisations.

Furthermore, Frank asserts that the low barriers to entry into the civil society sector since literally no capital investment is mandatory have resulted in high competition in the sector. Hatten 90 denotes that historically, not-for-profit organisations have been primarily as distributors of charitable services, and hence inadequate emphasis has been placed on the strength of the management and leadership of the organisations.

The growing need for more capable management and leadership to steer not- for-profit organisations in the relevant strategic and functional directions poses new challenges for these not-for-profit organisations. Huxham and Vangen 7 also concur with the view that civil society organisations are increasingly seeking more expertise in their management and leadership, just as conventional profit-making organisations do. Another challenge that not-for-profit organisations in the health sector face relate to the rapidity of change of public health disease patterns and approaches to manage public health issues.

According to Powles , changes in the pattern of diseases are ongoing and are associated with social and other transformation. Therefore the environment in which the organisations like Composite Health works will invariably change and the organisation has to adapt to this change in order to survive. A SWOT analysis therefore forms a solid basis to identify the need for change management and to generate recommendations for such change in line with current trends.

The socio-legal environments within which organisations in South Africa operate also subject them to emerging challenges. Organisations that are funded by donor or public funds are, at the very least, expected to operate within the realms of neo-liberalism Slatter, As such, donor funded not-for-profit entities like Composite Health and the Vikela Project must be seen to subscribe to these evolving neo-liberal concepts. Furthermore, the civil society system that donor funded organisations often work in requires them to rethink their approaches towards other changing topical issues such as human rights, social equality, economic emancipation, community participation and sustainable development, among others.

For some organisations, these changes may require a paradigm shift in their business philosophy Howes, Some factors in the political atmosphere in which the organisation operates present challenges to the organisation. This poses a challenge as it may steer the organisation away from its mission and vision. In some instances there will be government restrictions and regulations on what and how not-for-profit organisations provide their services. The constantly changing corporate and social culture in South Africa imposes new challenges for not-for-profit organisations.

May vii denotes that South Africa is among the most multi-cultural societies globally. Since not-for-profit entities like Vikela Project provide services to the society, there is emerging need that these organisations embrace the growing multiculturalism concept. Brown and Harvey 69 notes that organisations need to align their values, beliefs and norms with the changing shape of socio-cultural transformation. The technological environment in which Composite Health and Vikela Project work in also poses new challenges requiring action on the part of the organisation.

Eng 18 outlines some of the rapid technological changes in the public health care systems, particularly the use of electronic systems for planning, monitoring and implementation. This new challenge therefore requires not-for-profit organisations to rethink their business philosophy and operations with a view of how the changing face of the technological environment affects business.

Barr and Tagg 12 noted that major changes in the approaches to service provision have impacted on organisations. For example, in the health care and social services sectors, one new trend requiring major paradigm change is the concept of integration of services that were traditionally offered as vertical services. In particular, and with more specific reference to Vikela Project, the National Strategic Plan on HIV National Department of Health, 7 implores organisations to broaden their scope in the width and depth of HIV related services that they offer, so that economies may be achieved through synergies and adjacencies.

Business process re-engineering is therefore constantly becoming a feature of such service organisations in the changing environment Bhatt, Emerging geographic and climate changes create new challenges for organisations. Lemos and Giacomucci 59 noted that there is increasing pressure on organisations to incorporate ecologically friendly processes in their business activities. South Africa, like many other nations, is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 5 and as such is required to regulate the way industry and business within the country impact on climate change.

Van der Berg and Louw noted that South Africa is the country with the largest wealth difference between the rich and the poor. Donor funded not-for-profit organisations such as Composite Health and its business unit, Vikela Project, strive to close the gaps covered by such socio- economic inequality. The continued existence of social and economic inequality within South Africa creates and sustains opportunities for these not-for-profit organisations. It is ultimately the mandate and responsibility of any government to take care of the social protection of its citizens, with a focus on the less privileged in the community.

This limited capacity by governments and governmental agencies to address the social, economic, healthcare and development needs of citizens has continued to create unending opportunities for civil society organisations such as Composite Health. Therefore, donor funded organisations in South Africa can still harness these opportunities to do their part in improving the society. Opportunities for donor funds through harnessing corporate social investment in South Africa exist Fig, As the industrial and business hub of Africa, South Africa enjoys a plethora of both international and local corporations that are current and potential sources of donor funds through corporate social investment.

This remains a significant opportunity for donor funded not-for-profit organisations operating in the country. Another opportunity that exists for donor funded not-for-profit organisations working in South Africa is the falling cost of technology.

Jorgenson and Stiroh noted that the cost of computer technology has decreased significantly since the s. Donor funded organisations in the health, social development and other sectors increasingly rely on technology to provide services more cost-effectively. As Jorgenson and Stiroh describes, the information, education and communication components of services by non- profit organisations are becoming cheaper due to the gradual falling cost of electronic, mobile and other forms of telecommunication.

This presents an opportunity for new and existing donor funded not-for-profit organisations to provide more cost-effective services to the community. This increasing number of professional leaders presents a variety of opportunities for donor funded not-for-profit organisations, in relation to both the start-up and the leadership of these entities. As Bornstein also noted, even international organisations operating within South Africa are increasingly appointing indigenous professionals to lead the local chapters of the organisations.

Organisations such as Composite Health and its business unit, Vikela Project, are therefore potentially able to harness the opportunity of the ubiquity of strong local talent to strengthen their organisations. There are many indicators of business performance noted in literature. According to Mayston 51 financial and other business performance indicators such as liquidity, annual revenue generated, new partnerships formed, and so on rate how a business unit is performing and therefore informs management of the need for appropriate changes.

Measuring the business performance of a non-profit organisation presents a paradigm different from the normal business contexts. Kanter and Summers purport that not-for-profit organisations measure performance with indicators that revolve around and are rooted in legitimacy and doing good, and that these measured indicators provide information for diverse purposes.

For example, Moore examined the link between board composition and the performance of non-profit entities, and noted that the strength of board and the structure of its composition determined the performance of the organisation. Ritchie and Kolodinsky explored financial performance measurements for non-profit organisations such as fund-raising capacity, public support and fiscal performance.

Non-profit organisations, despite the fact that their goal is not profit but some other measure of success in accordance to the mission , need to be fully aware of how the environment they operate in influences their business performance. Changing views on social, cultural, legal and political realms also present not-for-profit organisations such as Composite Health with challenges that require realignment, transformation or even business process re-engineering in order to stay afloat. Literature also informs of the presence of opportunities for donor funded organisations in South Africa.

There is increasing pressure on industry and business to invest in corporate social responsibility, which increases funds potentially available to civil society organisations like Composite Health. Furthermore, as the cost of technology falls and the potential of indigenous professionals continues to build, opportunities for new and existing donor funded organisations are availed.

Following any SWOT analysis, business performance is improved when strategies are employed to capitalise on the business strengths and harness available opportunities, while concurrently offsetting the negative effects of weaknesses and threats to the organisation. Literature, as outlined above, therefore acknowledges that a SWOT analysis has value as it creates a founding basis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on which recommendations are made for improving business performance.

In chapter 3 that follows the researcher discusses the research methodology and research design used by the researcher in this study. The researcher in this section will describe the rationale for choosing methods of data presentation and analysis. Furthermore, the research instruments will be presented and the ethical considerations of the study will be outlined.

The chapter focuses on outlining the research design, philosophy, and strategies on which the study was based. The researcher further describes the target population and sampling methods used in the study. This chapter also contains the description of the research instrument, including how the researcher ensured the validity and reliability of the research tool.

The methods used to analyse the data are outlined by the researcher in this chapter. To conclude this chapter the researcher outlines the limitations, ethical and other consideration of the study. Further, the study was meant to assist the researcher to provide recommendations to the management of Vikela Project on how to improve business performance, based on identified environmental factors.

The researcher used a phenomenological-oriented exploratory research design using the interview as the research instrument. The rationale for this research approach stems from the fact that detailed data was collected from respondents and the open-ended nature of the interview questions made the qualitative data analysis technique appropriate for this study.

The semi-structured standardised open-ended questions and the qualitative data analysis approach that the researcher used in this study ensured greater validity of findings as respondents had the opportunity to provide realistic answers.

The sections that follow hereafter provide an in-depth description of the methodologies that the researcher used for this study, and explain the reasons for the choices. De Vaus 01 states that the research design sets the basis for the whole research process from framing the research questions to finally analysing and reporting the data.

Research designs at the disposal of social science researchers include causal-comparative research, correlational research, explanatory research, descriptive research and exploratory research MANCOSA, The researcher selected exploratory research as the research design for this study. The fundamental reason for choosing the exploratory research design was the premise that this study aimed to identify and explore factors impacting on Vikela Project, and furthermore to propose recommendations to the management of Vikela Project.

Stebbins 03 defines exploratory research in social science as a broad-ranging purposive, systematic pre-arranged undertaking designed to maximise the discovery of generalisations leading to description and understanding of the area under study. The researcher did not choose a causal-comparative research design for this study as the study was not aiming to compare any groups or variables.

According to Fraenkel and Wallen 19 a causal comparative research design often entails determination of cause or effect in an experimental or quasi-experimental fashion. The researcher did not pursue this study using a correlational research design because there were no two or more variables whose relationship needed to be explored.

Fraenkel and Wallen 17 denote that correlational research involves studying of existing relationships between two variables, aimed at explaining relationships or help predict outcomes. Explanatory research design was not chosen by the researcher as the research design for this study. Although as a case study this research will explanatory, the research design goes further to explore certain factors in order to answer the research questions, hence rather the choice of exploratory research.

Another research design that was not chosen was the descriptive research approach. The choice of phenomenological research philosophy was based on the assumption that as an exploratory study, many social factors impacted on the elements under study. Some of these factors could not be easily quantified hence were more conveniently assessed qualitatively. According to Moustakas 13 , one key advantage of phenomenological research is that this data is less artificially constructed compared to positivist research paradigm and therefore presents greater validity and reliability.

As a case study, the researcher aimed to obtain, analyse and present information representing in-depth social insights into the factors impacting on Vikela Project, and such analysis is best carried out through a phenomenological research paradigm. A positivist quantitative research approach was not chosen for this study primarily because the factors forming the social phenomena under exploration were diverse and could neither be accurately nor reliably measured.

According to Bogdan and Bilken 06 , the empiricism that quantitative assessment of the positivist approach stands for was a key issue for consideration on whether to engage this approach. However, the nature of the information obtained during the research required a more explanatory qualitative approach. The combined research approach was not selected as the research philosophy. Johnson and Onwuegabuzie 14 present the mixed quantitative and qualitative approach as a more realistic and representative research paradigm compared to either the pure qualitative or pure quantitative approaches.

However, to simplify the collection, presentation and analysis of data for this dissertation, only one paradigm had to be chosen and the phenomenological approach was selected. Further, the researcher provides justification for the choice of phenomenological-oriented research strategies used for this study.

The case study was the selected research strategy since Vikela Project is a small business entity with only 13 employees who form the target population for this study. Yin 05 outlines three different constructs of case studies. The type chosen as the research strategy for this dissertation is the exploratory case study as this strategy allowed the researcher to fully explore and answer the research questions.

The other two case study types that were not chosen were the descriptive case study and explanatory causal case study. These later two strategies above were not chosen as they could not achieve obtaining answers to the research questions. The other phenomenological research strategies were not appropriate for this research.

One of these strategies is action research. According to Lewin 34 , action research aims to provide research information and at the same time brings about some change on the researched entity. In this regard action research was not appropriate for this study as the aim was not to bring out change during the period of the research.

This research strategy was not chosen by the researcher since research questions already represented a form of a set theory. Ethnography as a phenomenologically-oriented research strategy was not chosen by the researcher. This strategy was not appropriate for this case study as there was limited time and logistical constraints for this approach. Roberts describes the survey method as one of the most common approaches used in empirical social sciences research.

Furthermore, Roberts illustrates how the survey strategy is a good method to describe characteristics and interrelations of socio-demographic and psychological data. However, due to the qualitative and exploratory nature of this case study, the researcher did not find the survey method as the most appropriate strategy.

Mingers suggests that current trends in research methods show that researchers are increasingly using both qualitative and quantitative approaches in one study. This combined approach, as Mingers argues, provides a balanced view of research data. However, the researcher did not choose combined research strategies; instead the researcher chose one research strategy the explanatory case study approach in order to provide simplicity to data collection, presentation and analysis processes.

A combined research strategy was not chosen as this approach would require the researcher to apply more time and resources in triangulating the findings. As a study of a small to medium-sized business entity, all the elements employees forming the target population were known and identifiable. Fraenkel and Wallen 07 define a population as a group that the researcher is trying to represent in the study. Sampling techniques are divided into two broad types — probability and non-probability sampling.

The researcher in this study chose the non-probability sampling technique. As a case study of a small organised group of subjects, the aim was to get information from some or all of the subjects available to the researcher during the study period. Anonymous 03 defines non-probability sampling as a method of where the sampling technique does not provide a known probability of selecting any particular elements.

The researcher chose purposive sampling for this research. Fraenkel and Wallen 08 define purposive sampling as using personal judgement to select a sample that should be representative or selecting those known to have the needed information.

Six participants forming the sample for this study were purposefully selected according to their positions within Vikela Project. Since these were in-depth interviews, the researcher did not need to interview all the 17 people in the target population as this take very long for data collection, transcription and data analysis. The interviews with these six of the 17 employees of Vikela Project provided in-depth and varied views on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business entity.

The researcher did not employ the convenience sampling technique. Convenience sample is a matter of taking what you get Anonymous, Due to movement and absence of the staff of Vikela Project for purposes of leave and work related travel, the researcher could have opted for convenience sampling and obtained research data from any six subjects who were available to take part. However, since views were required from respondents working in particular predetermined positions in Vikela Project, convenience sampling would not yield the required reliability.

The researcher did not choose quota sampling techniques as they were not appropriate non- probability sampling techniques for this case study. According to Anonymous , quota sampling involves deliberately setting proportions of levels or strata within a sample. The aim of quota sampling is to insure the inclusion of a particular segment of the target population. Quota sampling was not appropriate for this case study as no quotas of elements was required.

Snowballing as a sub-type of purposive sampling involves picking up the sample elements as the research continues, especially in situations of hard-to-track populations such as drug users Anonymous, In this case study, the researcher did not choose snowballing as they were not appropriate approaches for the study. The researcher did not choose probability sampling for this study because the population was small and as an exploratory case study the aim was to interview most or all of the elements.

According to Fraenkel and Wallen , examples of probability sampling are simple random, systematic, stratified and cluster sampling. Anonymous 02 defines simple random sampling as a technique in which each element in the population of interest has an equal likelihood of selection. The researcher decided that the four probability techniques described above were not appropriate for this study as the approach was based on non-probability sampling through purposive sampling.

In summary, the researcher chose purposive sampling as the sampling type of choice for this study. This was done in order that during research the researcher obtains views from a variety of predetermined respondents based on position within Vikela Project. The interview as a research instrument is normally used for descriptive or exploratory research where the information yield required is large and potentially unlimited. Valenzuela and Shrivastava 05 list four different types of interviews.

These types of interviews are unstructured interviews, structured interviews, standardised open-ended interviews and closed fixed-response interviews. In Figure 5 below the characteristics of the four types of interviews are described. The table further provides key characteristics of the types of interviews.

Depending on the type of data required for the study, a researcher would use this table to decide on the type of interview questions to be used in the research tool. The researcher in this study chose the interview as the research instrument. The interview was chosen for data collection in this study because of the varied and potentially limitless responses expected from respondents. The need by the researcher to follow up and explore issues raised by respondents during the data collection process led the researcher to use semi-structured standardised open-ended interview as the research instrument.

The researcher did not choose the questionnaire as the method of data collection in this study. According to MANCOSA 91 , questionnaires are generally used to collect data relating to socio-demographic, psycho-behavioural, orientation and content-related research issues. The four categories of data named in the previous sentence entail collection of data using structured or semi-structured questionnaires.

Due to the exploratory approach used by the researcher in this study, including the need to pose follow up questions, made the researcher not to choose the questionnaire method. The interview questions that the administered in this study are shown in Appendix C of this dissertation.

In order to address the research objectives and answer the research questions, 20 semi-structured interview questions were constructed using five thematic areas. Figure 6 below shows the five thematic areas and the kind of data the researcher intended to collect in each area.

Each thematic area was examined by four questions. In the pilot study, the researcher subjected two participants to the interview questions to assess the suitability of the questions. The two participants provided minor inputs that were used by the researcher to revise and improve on the wording of the interview questions in the research instrument.

The two participants who were interviewed for the pilot study responded to the questions citing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to Vikela Project. They also provided recommendations to the management of Vikela Project on ways to improve business performance. As the purpose of the pilot study was to determine the suitability and applicability of the research instrument, the main finding was that some of the questions in the instrument questions 4, 8 and 16 needed to be simplified for the audience to easily understand.

Consequently, the researcher improved the wording to make the questions more easily understood by respondents during the actual study. Thabane, Chu, Cheng, Ismaila, Rois, Robson, Thabane, Grangregorio and Goldsmith summarise the rationale for a pilot study under four broad categories — process, resources, management and scientific. The key for assessing the above broad categories is to judge the feasibility of applying the research methods and whether or not the research instrument will provide adequate data to answer the research questions.

Semi-structured questions were verbally posed to the respondents and in some cases the researcher posed follow-up questions to respondents to establish clarity on issues that the respondents were raising. This data was then transcribed into written responses by the researcher in preparation for data analysis.

Both the primary source of interview data electronically recorded verbal data and secondary source transcribed verbal data in form of text were kept safe by the researcher in an effort to maintain confidentiality and anonymity. The decision for the qualitative data analysis approach was based on the descriptive-exploratory nature of the study, including the varied responses from follow up questions, which made the researcher favour qualitative analysis. The responses from each of the six respondents were separately summarised.

These are included in Appendix E. Simple proportions and qualitative description of the key findings from research data were by the researcher. Quantitative data analysis was not chosen by the researcher because the descriptive- exploratory nature of the data and the varied responses from participants were better analysable qualitatively. The researcher also did not choose a combined qualitative- quantitative approach as only one method was recommended for use by the research committee at MANCOSA.

This section presents a synopsis of how valid and reliable the study methods employed during this study were and any limitations to validity and reliability that were known. The purpose of validity is to ensure that results are accurately applied and interpreted. Four specific types of validity exist, which according to Rouse, Kozel and Richards 15 are face validity, content validity, criterion validity and concurrent validity.

As a qualitative research, this study was prone to subjectivity, feelings and opinions of respondents that vary from one individual to another. The purposive sampling method chosen by the researcher in this study assisted in improving the credibility of the findings by choosing a predetermined group from whom results would be credible. Transferability in this study was assured since the findings could be generalised to contexts similar to Vikela Project.

The sample of six purposefully selected respondents was also designed to confer conformability of the findings through internal corroboration by peer respondents. The researcher established face validity through informal consultation with two employees of Vikela Project to establish their opinion on the interview questions. The two employees who were informally subjected to all the interview questions expressed satisfaction on the relevance and balance of the research instrument.

As Cherry defines, content validity refers to expert review of the research tool to establish relevance and adequacy. Cherry 02 as well defines criterion-related validity as having two types: concurrent validity and predictive validity.

The researcher in this study did not establish concurrent validity and predictive validity since the research design which is phenomenological-based did not require correlation analysis. These are parallel forms of reliability, test-retest reliability and and inter-rater reliability.

Parallel forms of reliability entails applying two tools on respondents and analysing the correlation between the results of the two measurements. In test-retest reliability a researcher applies the same research instruments to the same subjects at different time periods to check the consistency and repeatability of the research instruments. The third type is the inter-rater reliability, whereby the researcher measures homogeneity of research data from different respondents.

This inter-rater reliability check was performed during the data analysis stage of the research. Through this inter-rater reliability check, the researcher in this study established that respondents generally understood the questions the same way and had generally similar views in their responses. In qualitative study as in this study, reliability is based on the assumption general repeatability of the findings, although not exactly similar findings.

Since the contexts change in qualitative research, results for each retest for example, repeat of interview will differ to some extent. However, the corroboration of findings among the six respondents in this study helped to introduce dependability of the results and to gauge the replicability of the findings. Firstly, some respondents had worked for Vikela Project far more than others.

Those participants who had less time within Vikela Project did not provide responses to some of the interview questions as they did not know the status. Secondly, the respondents were of different training and work experience, and this impacted on the way they provided responses about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business unit. Despite differing gender, educational levels and length of service within Vikela Project, the same set of questions were applied in the same order.

The researcher, however, applied different follow-up clarification questions to respondents depending on the response the researcher received for the standardised questions. The research instrument interview questions in this study did not contain questions that lead or suggest any particular response. The questions were open-ended and explored the themes in a manner that required respondents to construct their own answer under a broad thematic area.

Various facets of ethical researching have been explored and applied by the researcher during this study and are summarised below: 3. Cassileth, Zupkis, Sutton-Smith and March explore the elements of an informed consent. According to Cassileth et al , intellectual capacity, voluntarism and knowledge of participation rights are key considerations for validating consent as an informed consent. All participants fully understood the aim of the study and signed the consent form to agree to voluntarily participate in the study.

Participants were informed by the researcher of their right to withdraw their participation at any stage of the study. The informed consent form used by the researcher in this study is shown in Appendix B. Since the data collection process basically involved the application of an interview, the researcher did not envisage any harm to the respondents. Furthermore, the raw data electronically recorded interviews and transcribed data were stored by the researcher in a place where access was restricted in an effort to ensure confidentiality.

This permission was granted by the management of Composite Health, the organisation which owns Vikela Project business unit. The letter detailing this permission is included in this dissertation as Appendix A. The research instrument that the researcher employed in this study was the interview, using semi structured standardised open-ended questions. The qualitative data analysis technique was employed by the researcher to analyse the findings of the study.

The researcher also established validity and reliability of the research instrument and process in the conduct of this study. Careful consideration was taken by the researcher to eliminate research bias, and key limitations of the study were well- outlined above. In chapter 4 that follows, the researcher presents the findings of the study. As presented in Appendix C, the research instrument consisted of 20 semi-structured standardised open- ended questions grouped into five thematic areas namely strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to Vikela Project, and recommendations to the management of Vikela Project.

During face-to-face interviews, the researcher made use of an electronic voice recorder to record primary data as voice data. The researcher transcribed voice data from interviews into text according to the responses from the interview and grouped the text data into themes stated above.

During the transcription process, the researcher used a reductionist approach in that only summaries of responses were put into text, not all the words of the respondents. The data was then presented in five tables that represent the five thematic areas under investigation.

A qualitative thematic analysis of the data was then performed by the researcher. The approach used during the analysis was a deductive approach as the researcher based the analysis on the theory set by the research questions, which is the premise that in order to improve business performance, the management of Vikela Project should take advantage of strengths and opportunities while mitigating the impact of weaknesses and threats on the business unit.

Data presentation and interpretation in this study was achieved by the use of the linear- analytical presentation approach where study questions, findings and discussion are methodically presented. According to Sandmaier , a linear-analytical approach is the common standard approach for qualitative social science research due to its easy and logical approach. The summarised data is presented in five thematic areas with the aid of five tables.

Each table contains findings from each theme and is succeeded by a detailed descriptive interpretation and discussion of the findings. The respondents were arbitrarily numbered from respondent 1 to respondent 6 according to the order by which they were interviewed. These are responses to questions 1 to 4 of the research tool. These questions were presented to respondents as follows: Question 1: What are the strengths in respect of financing and financial resources?

An analysis of responses to question 1 reveals that all six subjects interviewed mentioned adequate financial resources of Vikela Project as a key strength to the business entity. Further information obtained was that the technical team of Vikela Project was strongly well-placed to source more funding for the business entity.

One respondent stated that the flexibility that funder had given to Vikela Project on how to spend project funding was a key strength as this means that the business entity could use money where there will be best results. Question 2 of the interview was used by the researcher to explore the strengths of relationships between Vikela Project and its key stakeholders. All the respondents mentioned that Vikela Project had good relations with its key stakeholders. A common finding was that Vikela Project had strong relationships with its funder, the United States government.

Another key strength mentioned by five of the six participants was that Vikela Project had strong relations with its major partner, the Department of Health DOH of South Africa. The fact that some Vikela Project staff are working at the DOH as seconded staff was observed as a factor contributing to the strong relationship. On interview question 3, most of the respondents mentioned that Vikela Project had strengths in its good teamwork and coordination.

Three participants further stated good internal controls as a key business strength. One respondent listed good external audit reports on Vikela Project as evidence of good internal controls within the business entity. The respondents mentioned a number of key strengths on human resources and leadership in response to interview question 4.

Two respondents mentioned that one of the strengths of Vikela Project lied in the job satisfaction of its employees. These are responses to questions 5 to 8 of the research instrument. The interview questions were presented to respondents as follows: Question 5: What are the weaknesses in respect of financing and financial resources? Question 6: What are the weaknesses in respect of relations with major stakeholders, including funders, partners, beneficiaries and suppliers?

This was a weakness as Vikela Project staff on the ground had limited leverage on expenditure yet they were the people with full knowledge of where expenditure would need to lie. Another finding was that there was lack of clarity on who was responsible for fund-raising for the business entity.

This meant that although project staff was technically skilled and experienced in sourcing funds, the mandate of fundraising remained with Composite Health International based in the United States. This scenario therefore meant that local South African sources of funding were not tapped into. One respondent noted that although availability finance for Vikela Project was adequate, a key weakness was that this finance was not enough to allow for expansion of the business unit.

In response to question 6 of the research instrument, three of the six respondents stated inadequate reporting by Vikela Project to the funder as a key weakness. Three participants further mentioned that Vikela Project had failed to fully deliver to the key partner, the DOH, on some of the key deliverables in the past financial year.

One respondent noted that there was some conflict between the policies of Composite Health as owner of Vikela Project and the funder. These conflicting policies were observed as a weakness of Vikela Project as this situation could lead the funder withdrawing funding. Furthermore, it was noted by one respondent that limited liaison between Vikela Project staff and the funder PEPFAR through meetings and other forums was a key weakness and exposed Vikela Project to poor bilateral relations.

Insufficient team meetings of Vikela Project staff, coupled with perceived poor linkages between the business unit and other business units under composite Health were noted as key weakness. The respondent noted that sometimes one finance officer would perform procurement, invoicing and make payment of the same invoice, which exposed Vikela Project to possible fraud.

Over-reliance of Vikela Project and Composite Health on Composite Health International to oversee key operational processes was reported to be a key weakness. This was noted to be a weakness as operational processes would be better fully controlled by local business unit staff.

Another weakness mentioned was that standard operating procedures and internal controls were not followed correctly. Question 8 of the interview tool asked by the researcher focused on weakness relating to human resources and leadership. Five participants mentioned the shortage of staff as a key weakness to Vikela Project. In addition, two participants listed a lack of skills development programme within Vikela Project and Composite Health as a weakness since the services supplied by Vikela Project required consistent skills update and development.

Lack of a substantive country director to manage Composite Health and hence Vikela Project was noted by four of the six respondents as a key weakness. One respondent noted that Vikela Project staff was not fully capacitate to operate independently.

Another weakness which was observed was that Vikela Project staff turnover was significantly high. As noted by two respondents, staff morale and motivation at Vikela Project were low. These are responses to questions 9 to 12 of the interview tool. The researcher presented the questions to respondents as follows: Question 9: What are the opportunities in respect of financing and financial resources? Question What are the opportunities in respect of relations with major stakeholders, including funders, partners, beneficiaries and suppliers?

Table 3: Opportunities for Vikela Project according to interview respondents No. All respondents noted that a variety of potential donors was available in South Africa were keen to fund not-for-profit entities such as Vikela Project. Being a locally registered organisation, composite Health could access funding from local funders within the country. A number of opportunities were cited by respondents on the issue of relationships with stakeholders.

Furthermore, the history of good relations that Vikela Project has with the donor PEPFAR presents an opportunity for a continued functional relationship. One respondent noted that the policy shift of most funders toward seeking to finance locally registered not-for-profit organisations presented an opportunity for Vikela Project as Composite Health is locally registered.

Another opportunity for Vikela Project was in the simple and easily achievable expectations and targets set by funder, meaning that the business unit had limited risk of not achieving set deliverables. Two respondents noted the availability of highly qualified technical staff on the job market as an opportunity. Due to the expertise required to carry out services in HIV prevention where Vikela Project operates, availability of experts in the local labour market for full-time employment and short-term consultancy work is a key opportunity to the business entity.

Furthermore, one respondent noted that the need for these specific expert technical services within communities presented a continued opportunity for Vikela Project to expand its services. Through interview question 12, the researcher explored the opportunities available for Vikela Project in relation to human resources and leadership. Another respondent mentioned that skills development programmes were available in the country, some of them through government departments.

These are responses to questions 13 to 16 of the interview tool. The researcher presented the questions to participants as follows: Question What are the threats in respect of financing and financial resources?

Question What are the threats in respect of relations with major stakeholders, including funders, partners, beneficiaries and suppliers? In question 13, the researcher explored threats to Vikela Project in the area of financial resources. Three of the six respondents mentioned the ubiquity of competitor not-for-profit organisations seeking funding as a threat to Vikela Project since competition for scarce funds was high.

In addition, one respondent noted that the recent global economic recession had resulted in reduced donor funding, presenting an added threat to Vikela Project. Another interview subject mentioned that the announcement by the major donor the United States government through PEPFAR that it could start reducing support to not-for-profit organisations in South Africa was key threat.

The respondents mentioned the risks that are carried by basing on one financier, including total shut-down if the financier stops funding for any reason. The researcher through question 14 of the interview tool explored threats to Vikela Project relating to relationships with stakeholders.

Two respondents stated that poor compliance to funder requirements on reporting, liaison and policy implementation exposed Vikela Project to the risk of losing the funding. One respondent specifically mentioned that there was perceived decrease in the confidence of the funder in Vikela Project. The key threat identified by four of the six respondents was potential of key staff being recruited by competitor organisations. The generally high staff turnover in not-for-profit organisations, coupled with the high number of entrant organisations into the not-for-profit sector, meant a high risk of qualified and experienced staff being recruited by other organisations.

With the use of question 16, the researcher explored the threats to Vikela Project in the line of human resources and leadership. Two respondents noted that staff could easily leave the organisation as there was uncertainty over future employment when compared to other not-for-profit entities. The researcher achieved the objective of identifying and exploring threats to Vikela Project. The information obtained on these key threats to Vikela Project may be used by the management of the business unit to improve business performance.

Since these are threats and mainly external to the organisation, the management of Vikela Project may have limited leverage to remove the threats. However, recognising these threats helps in decision- making and implementation. These are responses to questions 17 to 20 of the research instrument. Question What should be done to improve the relations with major stakeholders, including funders, partners, beneficiaries and suppliers? Question What should be done to improve operations, including technical and programme capacity, teamwork, coordination and internal controls?

Table 5: Recommendations to the management of Vikela Project No. Further these funding proposals should be target a variety of donors in order to have a diverse base of potential funders, focusing on donors within South Africa. Question 18 of the interview tool was used by the researcher to derive recommendations to the management of Vikela Project on issues related to the stakeholder relations of the business entity.

Feedback to beneficiaries should be improved. Question 20 of the interview tool was used by the researcher to explore recommendations to the management of Vikela Project on issues relating to human resources and leadership. This aims to reduce perceived staff shortages, especially field-based staff.

In addition to these key recommendations, Vikela Project management will generate more recommendations based on information on the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats section. Challenges of not-for-profit organisations highlighted in the literature review chapter 2 were also found during the study. Over-reliance on a single donor was a finding in agreement with literature findings.

Furthermore, as in the literature review, the researcher found that the recent global economic crisis had reduced the potential funding available to not-for-profit organisations. In the literature review as expressed by Gario and Slatter 25 , the researcher outlines the political atmosphere and socio-legal environments as creating challenges for not-for-profit entities. This view was echoed in the findings of the study.

Some of the respondents stated the need for Vikela Project to comply with local South African socio-legal and political expectations by employing a local citizen as country director for the entity. Furthermore, as expressed in the literature by May vii , respondents noted that Vikela Project needs to take note of the changing corporate and social cultures.

Specifically, respondents noted the need for consistent skills development of employees to keep up with newer corporate approaches. As stated by the researcher in the overview of the literature, the study also found opportunities for not-for-profit organisations.

Another finding in keeping with the literature review as noted by Fig was that corporate social responsibility funding in South Africa was on the increase, providing opportunities for donor funded entities like Vikela Project as mentioned by the respondents. Also, as noted in the literature by Nattrass and Seekings 5 and asserted by Bornstein , the respondents stated that skilled technical experts were increasingly available to take up positions in donor funded organisations, therefore creating opportunities for growth of the sector.

The results of the study presented above by the researcher were in line with the aim and objectives of the study. The first study objective was to identify and explore the business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to Vikela Project.

The second objective was to derive recommendations for the management of Vikela Project on how to improve business performance. Both objectives were satisfied by the results presented and discussed by the researcher in this chapter. The data obtained during the interviews was aimed to answer the research questions. In chapter 5 which follows, the researcher provides a concise conclusion to this study and presents recommendations of the study.

Further, chapter 5 provides guidance for possible further research in line with the research title and aim. The findings of this study are presented, interpreted and discussed in Chapter 4. It is important that conclusions and recommendations of this study be presented. The purpose of chapter 5 is to conclude this research by presenting a synopsis of the findings and making recommendations from the study.

This section of the dissertation will present findings from the literature review and findings from the primary research. The findings will be followed by conclusions of the study, which will detail whether the research aim and objectives were met by the researcher in this study. These environmental factors are normally presented using a four-grid framework displaying strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats to the organisation.

This simplistic and logical approach as cited by Juneja and Juneja 1 has sustained the SWOT analysis as a user-friendly tool that many organisations rely on as a basis for strategic planning. The factors identified with the aid of a SWOT analysis form an informed source of information for management for the planning process. A number of other competitive strategic models are explained in literature.

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Another opportunity that exists for examples for the students on stage of the research. However, it is imperative that is one such factor that and hence Vikela Project was external environment as a free sample cover letter for a new college grad need require realignment, transformation or even. According to Valentin 54purposive sampling as using personal civil society organisations are increasingly expensive processes, the SWOT remains directions poses new challenges for a proxy to assist improving. Thom 8 also noted that acknowledges that a SWOT analysis money specifically for the control verbal data in form of continued to create unending opportunities on donor funded projects such as Composite Health. This chapter also contains the unit of Composite Health, a non-governmental not-for-profit organisation based in. Since the contexts change in follow-up clarification questions to respondents kind of data the researcher intended to collect in each. Ritchie and Kolodinsky explored financial that there is increasing pressure as evidence of good internal falling cost of technology. This scenario therefore meant that information obtained during the research dissertations are different from citing. Lemos and Giacomucci 59 noted data collection in this study on organisations to incorporate ecologically the data and the varied. These types of interviews are know if citing sources in as Appendix A.

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