One of our best 2016 MBA theses on transformational leadership

Transformational leadership style : The relationship to companies that are digital leaders

By: Truter, Berdine 2017



The objective of the study was to explore the relationship between companies that are digitally mature and the leadership style of their C-level executives, with a specific focus on transformational leadership. Success in the digital era requires not only an investment in digital capabilities, but also a change in organisational culture that only strong leadership can inspire. Transformational leadership instils major changes at the organisational level, through changing attitudes and assumptions at the individual level and creating collective engagement. Moreover, this leadership approach facilitates organisational innovation and learning, and generates a shared, inspiring vision for the future.

The purpose this study was two-fold: Firstly, to explore the relationship between transformational leadership and having higher digital maturity levels – becoming a digital master. Secondly, to determine whether one or more of the transformational leadership factors has an effect on the digital maturity of South African companies (represented by four basic transformational leadership behaviours, or “I’s”.

An online survey, specifically addressing the research question, was sent to C-level executives from South African companies that fit the population criteria, using moderator regression models to determine if transformational leadership and its associated behaviours have an effect on a company’s digital maturity. For the sample population, it was determined that two of the transformational leadership behaviours had a positive effect on digital maturity, namely idealised influence and individualised consideration and that one transformational leadership behaviour, inspirational motivation, has a negative effect on digital maturity.


  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Digital
  • Information Technology

One of our 2016 best theses was on understanding the motivators of frontline employee innovation by Mohamed Bhorat

By: Bhorat, Mohamed Firoze



Innovation is widely seen as one of the cornerstones of organisational success and sustainability in an environment characterised by intense competition. The frontline employee is increasingly being seen as a critical component in an organisation’s innovation effort, due to their close proximity to and frequent engagement with the customer. Yet there is a lack of insight into what motivates frontline employees to be innovative. The purpose of this research is to gain insight into the specific motivators that influence the propensity of frontline employees to innovate. This research took the form of a descriptive study using a quantitative methodology, collecting data from 264 respondents through an online survey tool and an existing measurement instrument found in literature. A non probability sampling technique was used at a particular South African bank to obtain the sample. Research questions were formulated around, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and employee engagement factors and extended into determining which specific type of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators were effective in driving frontline employee innovation. A regression analysis revealed that intrinsic motivation was the only construct that was deemed to be statistically significant in predicting frontline employee innovation. However the “financial rewards” attribute, which corresponds to the extrinsic motivation construct, was found to be a statistically significant predictor of frontline employee innovation, albeit an inverse relationship. The findings suggest that frontline employees place more emphasis on their psychological needs being met in order for them to be innovative and that money is not necessarily a good motivator. In fact money as a motivator is seen as controlling and coercive and diminishes an employee’s sense of self determination and therefore may be detrimental to the motivation of frontline employee innovation. Academically, this study contributes to the insights on motivating frontline employees, with an emphasis on driving innovation. These insights may be used in business to inform motivational tactics that leads to a continued propensity to innovate amongst frontline employees, thus ensuring the overall success and sustainability of the organisation.

One of our best 2016 theses was on corporate innovation, risk management and internal governance by Bhima, Premal

Exploring the interplay between corporate innovation, risk management and internal governance

By: Bhima, Premal



Business leaders no longer question whether it is necessary to innovate but rather, which activities to pursue. While innovation is an imperative for organisations, it is inextricably linked to risk-taking and is compounded by high levels of innovation failure rates. Therefore, there is a clear requirement to understand the interplay that risk management and governance have in shaping the design of the innovation process. The aim of this research is to explore the relationship between corporate innovation management, internal governance and risk management, and to understand the dynamics between these constructs. The intention is that this contributes to the effectiveness of organisations when undertaking innovation activities by using adequate risk management and governance controls. An exploratory research method was adopted based on an inductive reasoning approach to gain insight into this interplay. Thirteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with senior experts across six industries. The respondents had high levels of seniority, ranging from C-suite executives, managing directors and other executives, to senior managers. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. A conceptual integrated innovation management model was carefully formulated based on the findings to embed risk management and governance within the iterative innovation process, which is influenced by the contextual attributes. The results found that risk management and governance remain key tools to manage innovation and become more significant as the innovation evolves. This research will assist organisations in managing innovation uncertainty using adequate risk management and governance controls for improved sustainability.

You need an innovation strategy (Harvard Business Review)

Original article by Gary Pisano from the June 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review


“Despite massive investments of management time and money, innovation remains a frustrating pursuit in many companies. Innovation initiatives frequently fail, and successful innovators have a hard time sustaining their performance—as Polaroid, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, and countless others have found. Why is it so hard to build and maintain the capacity to innovate? The reasons go much deeper than the commonly cited cause: a failure to execute. The problem with innovation improvement efforts is rooted in the lack of an innovation strategy. …

Without an innovation strategy, innovation improvement efforts can easily become a grab bag of much-touted best practices: dividing R&D into decentralized autonomous teams, spawning internal entrepreneurial ventures, setting up corporate venture-capital arms, pursuing external alliances, embracing open innovation and crowdsourcing, collaborating with customers, and implementing rapid prototyping…. The problem is that an organization’s capacity for innovation stems from an innovation system: a coherent set of interdependent processes and structures that dictates how the company searches for novel problems and solutions, synthesizes ideas into a business concept and product designs, and selects which projects get funded.”

To read the full article, click here

Horizon 2020: CEN and CENELEC offer advice on how to link research and innovation projects with relevant standardization activities

Brussels, 13 December 2013 – The European Standardization Committees CEN and CENELEC are actively looking for opportunities to establish links between European research and innovation projects and relevant standardization activities.

GIBS Information Centre / GIBSIC‘s insight:

research and innovation EU  – In the first wave of calls under Horizon 2020, the European Commission focuses on 12 priority areas: Personalising health and care, Sustainable food security, Blue growth, Digital security, Smart cities and communities, Low-carbon energy, Energy efficiency, Mobility, Waste, Water, ‘Overcoming the crisis’ and Disaster-resilience. CEN and CENELEC are currently working on standardization topics that are relevant to all of these areas.

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