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Uncomfortable truths – and the things DBA research ignores

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In the second of the Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) webinars hosted BY REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL on Friday 30 October, participants were addressed by Prof Salim Akoojee, an international education policy and education for development consultant. The title of his talk was: ‘Questioning the questioner’ – the quest for ‘an inclusively responsive’ research agenda for the REGENT DBA.

While a DBA is often focused on ‘senior executives who want practical solutions to real organisational challenges’ (University of Warwick), RBS is seeking to push the perceived boundaries of DBA research and instead focus its research agenda on uncomfortable truths – and the things DBA research usually ignore.

Prof Akoojee presented a possible approach to establishing a responsive agenda. The approach is cognisant of the features of the current/forthcoming economy and labour market and the possible implications for DBA research. It also takes into account local, national and continental perspectives on social and economic problems.

In terms of the unfolding global situation, Prof Akoojee pointed out that South Africa is up against the three C’s: Covid-19; Corruption in public and private sectors; and Capacity to address key issues. Against this backdrop, it is with an increasing urgency that economic exclusion; unemployment; economic and environmental sustainability; and crime and the rule of law be addressed. In short, the DBA must address social and economic matters that inhibit the formal economy and the participation of eligible adults in the formal and informal economy.

A key take-away message is that a new research agenda should strive for an economically defensible and socially inclusive research agenda, based on a democratic, viable developmental state (where business and community thrive). This must recognise that economic growth is a necessary, but insufficient means to sustainability. However, we will only be able to achieve these ideals where organisational interests and national imperatives are aligned. The DBA should therefore endeavour to undertake research for impact.

DATE:                         30 October 2020
TIME:                          10h30 – 11h30  
FACILITATOR:         Dr Ronel Blom

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