Programme for Business Improvement (PBI)
Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice
Who should Apply and Entrance requirements:
Students should hold a tertiary qualification from a recognised institution and have at least 4 - 5 years’ work and management experience. Candidates must be employed in middle management positions for the duration of the programme, as all assessment is carried out in the context of the students’ workplace.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) opportunities exist for experienced managers with 5-10 years relevant management experience. Students may not register at another institution (concurrent registration) for the duration of the programme at the GSB.
Module 1: 20 - 28 February 2014
Module 2: June 2014
Module 3: October 2014
Module 4: non-contact technical report (tbc)
Tuition fee: R53,000.00 (course material, books and tuition);
Application fee: R700 (non-refundable)
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): R1000
We do, however, rely on student numbers; a programme will not run unless we have a full cohort of students.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice was designed according to recent developments in social science and management referred to as practice turn. It focuses on day-to-day activities that make up social systems - the interaction between context, theory and practice, in particular in the management and organisational domains.
The general approach is to develop conceptual frameworks in full-time residential parts of the course and use these to diagnose and improve business acumen and organisational development practices in the organisational contexts. The programme is therefore seen as practice-orientated, with managers being expected to use their own work context as the context for applying learning in practice. The modular nature of the programme allows this to happen effectively.
The programme is based on a systems thinking framework which focuses on the following the four key systems thinking pillars:
- The role of boundary judgements in problem formulation;
- Causality and causal mechanisms in management practice;
- Multiple perspectives in decision-making and design; and
- The process and product relationship in decision-making and design.
The programme, therefore, provides the necessary theoretical foundations and learning processes that will enable managers to construct a framework of relevant and intellectual concepts for understanding and managing organisational viability and sustainable growth.
Managers will, in turn, develop appropriate management practices through action learning and research processes grounded in their particular work context - all post-course assignments are action-orientated projects that focus on improving, or bringing about an improvement in the organisation. Assessment is done, therefore, based on the ability of the manager/student to apply theory in practice. These processes are designed to simultaneously develop the required management competencies and contribute to organisational performance.
Systemic Management Practice
(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:
- Context of systemic management practice;
- Theories underpinning systemic management practice; and
- Practices leading to successful implementation.
Building Business Acumen
(30-credit; 8-day contact module/course)
- Finance and managerial economics –
- strategic planning;
- riding the financial information highway;
- negotiating a budget;
- measuring value;
- capital structure and finance;
- finance and government;
- collecting and evaluating financial information;
- managing value; and
- managing financial risk
- Operations management and control –
- operations management;
- creating customer value;
- managing resources;
- managing processes;
- creating total quality;
- service industry management; and
- managing markets
Designing & Managing the Value Streams of an Organisation
(30-credit; 8-day contact module/course)
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
Technical Report / Action Learning Research Project
(30-credit; 1-day intervention 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:
- Construction of a theory of action appropriate to the context;
- Observations covering process and results of implementation; and
- Critical reflection on process with the aim of evaluating operational leadership.
Students do this by:
- Analysing the organisational environment, and
- Managing environmental risk.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice aims to develop learners who demonstrate:
- 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).
Tel: +27 21 4061370