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Customised Academic Learning


Generic Structure

PGDip in Management Practice

Who should apply

Middle managers with at least 4 - 5 years work and management experience and a tertiary qualification from a recognised tertiary institution (RPL options exist).

Module 1 

Systemic Management Practice
(compulsory 30-credit 9-day contact module/course)

This module explores recent developments in the field of management practice and knowledge management with a particular focus on systems thinking. The foundation module provides the broad framework on which the programme is built and introduces the action learning, systems thinking and adult learning theories on which the programme as a whole is based. It integrates these into the concepts of organisational learning and knowledge management.

Students develop a framework for systems management practice which is used as a basis for all the other courses of the programme. The framework is also used to plan and manage development for the duration of the programme:

  • Arenas of management practice: Context; Theory; and Practice;
  • Core activities of management practice:
    1. Context of systemic management practice;
    2. Theories underpinning systemic management practice; and
    3. Practices leading to successful implementation.


Module 2/3

Innovative Wealth Creation
(30-credit 8-day contact module/course; tailored if necessary)

  • Review of financial ratio analysis;
  • Financial planning and forms of finance;
  • Financial planning and working capital management;
  • Budgeting and cash flow management;
  • Time value of money;
  • Issues in valuation;
  • Making capital investment decisions;
  • Risk and return;and
  • Cost of capital. 


Building Business Acumen
(30-credit 8-day contact module/course; tailored if necessary)

  • Finance and managerial economics –
    1. strategic planning;
    2. riding the financial information highway;
    3. negotiating a budget;
    4. measuring value;
    5. capital structure and finance;
    6. finance and government;
    7. collecting and evaluating financial information;
    8. managing value; and
    9. managing financial risk


  • Operations management and control –
    1. operations management;
    2. creating customer value;
    3. managing resources;
    4. managing processes;
    5. creating total quality;
    6. service industry management; and
    7. managing markets


Applied Marketing
(30-credit 8-day contact module/course; tailored if necessary)

  • Principles of applied marketing;
  • Situational analysis, research and objectives;
  • Segmentation, targeting and positioning;
  • Marketing mix decisions;
  • Implementation issues;
  • Product development and branding.


Designing & Managing the Value Streams of an Organisation
(30-credit 8-day contact module/course; tailored if necessary)

This module/course explores the role of organisational development and transformation in effecting change in an organisation. Topics include:

  • Personal effectiveness;
  • Building and leading a team that works;
  • Organisational development;
  • Organisational strategy;
  • Managing change and transformation
Module 4

Technical Report / Action Learning Research Project
(compulsary 30-credit non-contact module / course)

In this module, students are required to conduct an action-based investigation which adds substantive depth to their management studies.  The technical report tests their ability to apply the analytical and integrating skills and knowledge gained on the programme to a particular and substantial management problem.

To do so, students need to research a specific topic, collect methodologically robust data, interpret the data and apply the findings to resolve the research question.  The project follows an action learning process which involves the following steps:

  • Diagnosis;
  • Construction of a theory of action appropriate to the context;
  • Implementation;
  • Observations covering process and results of implementation; and
  • Critical reflection on process with the aim of evaluating operational leadership.


Students to this by:

  • Analysing the organisational environment, and
  • Managing environmental risk.




The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice aims to develop learners who demonstrate:

Applied Competence

  • A comprehensive and systematic knowledge base in a discipline/field and a depth of knowledge in some areas of specialisation. All students are qualified in a discipline of their own. The focus in the programme is on applying management principles to their discipline, adapting theory to context and drawing on critical thinking.
  • A coherent and critical understanding of the principles and theories of a discipline/field.
  • An ability to critique current research and advanced scholarship in an area of specialisation.
  • An ability to make sound theoretical judgements based on evidence and an ability to think epistemologically – students are taught to think systemically and to apply newly learnt management theories to their own management context.
  • An understanding of a range of research methods, techniques and technologies and an ability to select these appropriately for a particular research problem in an area of specialisation. Students perform data collection and evaluation by means of interviews, participant observation and documented research. Students use a qualitative data analysis process to develop contextually relevant explanatory theories that explain problems and other phenomena. An ability to identify, analyse and deal with complex and/or real world problems and issues using evidence-based solutions and theory-driven arguments.
  • Efficient and effective information retrieval and processing skills. This includes the identification, critical analysis, synthesis and independent evaluation of quantitative and/or qualitative data and an ability to engage with current research and scholarly or professional literature in a discipline/field.
  • An ability to present and communicate academic/professional work effectively by using a range of different genres appropriate to the context. Students present their group work daily during contact sessions and in the form of a final presentation at the end of each contact period. They furnish a group report based on the contact work and furnish individual reports based on relevant questions posed after each contact session.


Autonomy of Learning

  • A capacity to operate effectively in complex, ill-defined contexts. Students are provided with a broad theoretical framework per contact period and expected to adapt this to their own context back in the workplace. They are required to comprehensively define their context in order to do this.
  • A capacity to self-evaluate exercising personal responsibility and initiative. Students are required to evaluate their theories and to take the actions these suggest to see if they adequately deal with their concerns of their situation. Students test this against their experience and that of others. They test it explicitly against their common sense and that of the stakeholders in the situation to see if this answer can make better sense of some past experience. If it does, it is likely to offer something of value. A capacity to manage learning tasks autonomously, professionally and ethically.
  • A capacity to continue to learn independently for continuing academic or professional development. Students follow the small wins process across an 18-month period and incorporate their findings (once implemented and reflected upon) in a major technical report on the same (as mentioned above).