One of our best 2016 MBA theses on Authentic leadership

Investigating the mediating effect of perceived organizational support on the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement

By: Theresa Vermeulen 2017

Supervisor: Caren Scheepers



Using positive psychology and the theory of organizational support and reciprocity, we examined whether perceived organizational support (POS) mediates the relationship between authentic leadership and engagement. Authentic leadership and engagement have been investigated extensively however not in relation to POS within the same study.

Given the context of the world of work today, there is a need to move beyond the direct association between leadership and engagement to study how other variables may strengthen or weaken this relationship. Data was collected from 202 employees, working in an international information technology organization and results were analyzed at the group level. Regression analysis was used to test for mediation, followed by statistical tests of the indirect effect as well as bootstrapping.

Differences between subgroups were also investigated and model fit analysis to establish whether the suggested model was a good fit. The results showed that POS partially mediates the relationship between authentic leadership and engagement. Further practical implications of the findings are discussed, together with limitations and ideas for future research.


  • Authentic leadership
  • Work engagement
  • POS
  • Perceived Organizational Support

The MBA still rules the market (BizEd)

According to a recent infograph in the July/August 2015 edition of the BizEd magazine the MBA still rules the market.  The infograph is based on a survey done by the Graduate Management Admission Council using the comments from 11,674 prospective students between October 2013 and September 2014.

Read the full survey at

The infograph is available at

One of our top MBA theses on risk taking and corporate entrepreneuship (UP Space)

The impact of risk propensity on corporate entrepreneurship

By Matthew Lawson

Source:  November 10, 2014


There has been a vast amount of research done in the fields of Entrepreneurship and Risk Taking. There is, however, very little literature regarding the relationship between Risk Taking and Corporate Entrepreneurship (CE). This study attempts to understand that relationship whilst exploring the impact of Risk Propensity on Corporate Entrepreneurship with the intention of questioning current CE frameworks. The objective was to establish criteria to increase CE in the business environment. A bespoke questionnaire was sent out to determine both the individual Risk Propensity of the respondents and their perception of CE within their organisation. The elements of the questionnaire were based on well-known instruments available in literature. The variables used to explore the data further were based on the demographic information supplied by the respondents. The main objective of the study was to determine the relationship between Risk Propensity and CE with the secondary objectives looking to explore the variation in both Risk Propensity and CE across the established variables. The findings indicate little or no relationship between Risk Propensity and CE whilst the results from the variable analysis highlight the importance of Organisational Boundaries as a factor of CE. A framework is then proposed synthesising the results of the analysis before concluding with recommendations for future research.

Dean Nicola Kleyn receives an Emerald Management Review Citations of Excellence Award

Very hearty congratulations to Nicola Kleyn and Russell Abratt whose paper “Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate reputations: Reconciliation and integration”, European Journal of Marketing, 2012 has been recognised by Emerald.

On a yearly basis the Emerald Group Publishing awards certificates to highly cited papers relating to the areas of Business Management, Finance, Accounting, Economics and Marketing – subjects in which Emerald itself has proudly published journals for nearly 50 years. The selection process made by our own editorial experts is based initially on the citations being given to papers published in a previous year (in this case 2012), but our judging panel also take into account the content of the papers themselves in terms of novelty, inter-disciplinary interest and relevancy in today’s world. While high academic and research standards are a pre-requisite, these selections are of course ultimately subjective, but they are also a reflection of the high quality of work published in 2012.

The article summary:

The main purpose of this paper is to explore, define, reconcile and depict corporate identity (CI), corporate brand (CB) and corporate reputation (CR) in a framework that reflects the dimensions of these constructs, discriminates between them and represents their inter‐relatedness.

One of our top MBA theses on National competitiveness in Africa (UPSpace)

Driving factors for national competitiveness in Africa as measured by GDP per capita

By Neil Andrews

Source:  November 10, 2015


Competitiveness has been part of central, monetary policy making for over 500 years where regions have aimed to improve competitiveness and productivity by focusing on specific factors. The focus of the research was to identify which factors are most relevant for the African continent on determining competitiveness which will allow policy makers to understand how best to direct their investment with the greatest productivity return. The research methodology was quantitative in nature, based on secondary data from the Global Competitiveness Report over the past five years. The sample included 39 of the 54 African countries which are the countries on which the report collected data from. The unit of analysis was GDP per capita. A multivariate Generalized Linear Model with a log link function and Gamma error structure was built. The results showed that the order of importance for Africa was macroeconomic stability; infrastructure; technological readiness; and market size with the other factors not having a material influence. Building a similar model on all the countries have included two additional factors namely health and primary education as well as higher education and training. This indicates that certain structural factors are more important for countries in the developing phase such as Africa.

One of our top MBA theses on tacit coordination (UPSpace)

Social factors contributing to tacit coordination

By Helen Place

Source: January 14, 2015.


Tacit coordination occurs when parties have to coordinate but communication is not possible. People are able to coordinate remarkably successfully through the use of focal points, choices that possess some characteristic that makes them significant to both parties. While a great deal of research has been undertaken to understand the mechanisms of focal points themselves, little research has directly and empirically investigated the role of the identity of the coordination partner. This study aimed to identify the effects of social distance, age, ethnicity and gender on tacit coordination in order to understand more about the contextual sensitivity of tacit coordination. An empirical repeated-measures design was used to collect data through the playing of two games. The first experiment was tested on 58 pairings of individuals, 29 pairs of strangers and 29 pairs of colleagues who knew each other relatively well. Subjects attempted to match choices on a table with their partner. The second experiment used a resource-allocation game with (n = 28) subjects each undergoing four treatments, a control treatment, a treatment with a partner of the opposite gender, a treatment with a partner of a different ethnicity and a partner much older than the subject. Results overall revealed that subjects who knew each other outperformed strangers in a matching scenario. Furthermore, subjects who had to share resources were more tentative about claiming resources from partners older than them or belonging to a different ethnicity. This indicates a low level of certainty of the actions of people with different social histories to the subject, as their focal points, saliences and norms are likely to be different. As tacit coordination underpins a large number of social and economic everyday interactions it is interesting to see the impact of a relatively simple visual or social cue on coordination success and coordinating behaviour. The research concluded with the practical implications of the research and suggestions for future research to build on the foundation of this research project.

Tips for new MBAs

This week sees the start of the LEAD programme for all our 2014.15 MBAs.    The first group (in total 7 groups) is an enthusiastic and energetic bunch of people ready to tackle the next two years.

This got me thinking.  Year on year students stumble over what we see as minor stumbling block.  I got a group of current MBA students and alumni together to draw up a list of tips of our new MBAs.

They recommend getting through your first year:

  • Don’t leave your pre-reading to the last minute.  You are just cheating yourself, your fellow classmates and the faculty.  Do a little bit every evening.
  • You need a support structure while on the MBA.  Don’t forget to say please and thank you to your family, friends and colleagues who want to see you succeed.  Make sure your loved ones feel loved and are supported too!
  • Get to know as many of your classmates as possible and don’t just stick with the same crowd.
  • Support your classmates and share material, ideas and insights
  • Take it step-by-step.  You can worry about your research in a few months.  Focus on getting into the new routine and a new way of thinking.
  • Respect your brand and reputation, you are leaving a lasting impression with a lot of influential people.
  • Always bring any content, tools or models back into the context we live and work in – this will prove very successful in exams.
  • Your syndicate is like your family, you can’t choose them but you have to learn to love them.  Find out who is good at what and build on each other’s strengths.
  • Be nice to the second years.

  • Make friends with alumni.
  • Start the spade-work with faculty from day 1 – supervisors are everything on the research.
  • Life still happens – plan ahead get things done early so life doesn’t happen to your assignment.
  • No matter what anyone says about getting the full experience – splitting the syndicate assignments up in your group makes for much happiness.
  • You WILL start comparing your own environment to what you learn in class.  You WILL be tired and grumpy.  You WILL PROBABLY make some comments to your work colleagues which you may regret later.  Keep your head down and save the criticism for after you’ve finished and taken some time to rationalise things.
  • Take thorough notes in class and imagine yourself having to write a short exam straight after each session.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  There is nothing like a stupid question.  It is good to make your voice heard.
  • Get into a routine and try stick to it.
  • The MBA is a degree in time management. VERY IMPORTANT POINT

Tips for your second year and research:

  • Electives are not a walk in the park.  Be nice to the second years, you may get some hints.
  • WRT research.  Slaps from my supervisor… it’s a masters, not a doctorate.  120 pieces of literature is a bit much (30 is apparently fine).  Using Atlas for your literature review is probably a bit of an overkill.  20 statistical tests are also probably a bit much….
  • Qualitative is a lot more difficult than quantitative even if you have no idea what a factorial analysis is and how many degrees of freedom are acceptable.
  • Interviews take time – don’t assume access will be granted.  Take breath mints.

Good luck with your studies and know the Information Centre is there to support you.


How To Be An Awesome Young Manager

Don’t learn by example.

GIBS Information Centre / GIBSIC‘s insight:

How to from Gen Y – “Support growth and be transparent about your shortcomings   –   Growth is a necessary factor in job satisfaction. I was clear with my team that I was not the be-all-end-all for information and growth. I was committed to their learning and tried to find innovative ways for them to grow, from pairing them with others in the organization with more experience to suggesting workshops and online courses. 

Rather than make it seem like you know less, connecting your team with other experts will show your insight and intelligence.

Within a year, I had completely turned the ship around. I had a connected and efficient team; leadership in the organization saw it was one of the strongest teams. Taking the time and energy to become a good manager early will benefit you throughout your career. Do it by intentionally learning and connecting with the people you manage.”

Read more:

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Global assignments to rise as organisations try to plug skills gaps – PwC report

Over two thirds of graduates want an overseas assignment during their career, but only 11% are willing to work in India and only 2% in…

GIBS Information Centre / GIBSIC‘s insight:

War for Talent–  “PwC’s ‘Talent Mobility: 2020 and beyond’ report, based on data from over 900 global companies, reveals that companies will need to offer new forms of global mobility to respond to skills shortages, changing business needs and employee preferences.  –  According to the research, only 1% of people are now doing traditional assignments which involve three years in a different country and then returning home. The number of mobile workers, including long-distance commuters (who spend a week or two at a time in another country), has increased and now account for around 8% of the working population. The research reveals that the average length of a posting has now dropped to 18 months and the number of females taking on global assignments is predicted to increase. Women are projected to make up over a quarter of all assignees by 2020.   –   PwC’s analysis reveals that companies need to increase the number of globally mobile employees to deal with talent constraints. PwC research with over 1,400 HR directors globally reveals that 15% of organisations were unable to achieve growth forecasts in overseas markets due to talent constraints. This has led to nearly two thirds (64%) changing their approach to global mobility.”

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