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Executive MBA


Final Project Workshop Outline Final Project Objectives & Process Designing a good project What makes a good project? Review of past project s topics Exercise 1 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Executive MBA

Executive MBA
  • Final Project Workshop

  • Final Project Objectives Process
  • Designing a good project
  • What makes a good project? Review of past
    projects topics
  • Exercise 1 Selecting a topic and identifying
  • Assessment of final project
  • Exercise 2 Self-Assessment
  • What is meant by research methodology
  • Exercise 3 Selecting a Methodology
  • Writing a project proposal
  • Prix de la Recherche en Economie et Gestion de

Outline (2)
  • Writing a literature review
  • Draft Project Proposal Presentations
  • Current Issues in Business Research

Final Project Process Regulations
  • Final Project Workshop

Final Project Objectives
  • The objective of the project is to assess the
    capacity of each participant to apply the latest
    business and management theories and practices
    gained through the program to his/her own working
  • It is a professional research exercise that will
    enable the participant to focus on real business
    and managerial issues

Final Project Process
  • Individual piece of work
  • Deadlines are official regulations
  • Not respecting a deadline is a regulation
  • Informing the coordinator that you are going to
    miss a deadline is a good practice
  • In doubt, keep us informed
  • Do not let the contact with your supervisor or
    coordinator die
  • Extensions
  • Possible, but not recommended.
  • Note Informal agreement from supervisor is not
    sufficient to obtain an extension

Evaluation Process
Theme Topic
Draft Proposal
Finding a supervisor
Final Submission
Proposal submissions are treated on a rolling
Designing a Good Project
  • Final Project Workshop

What makes a good draft proposal?
  • It is interesting both for you, the supervisor,
    and the business community
  • Suitable to an Ex-MBA/Business degree
  • Topicality Your proposal will tackle a novel,
    interesting issue which is recognised as an
    important issues in todays business research
  • Feasible within the time frame and available
    resources in an Ex-MBA project

Industrial Relevance
  • It is important that your project is relevant to
    your sponsor
  • But marketing plans/business plans are not what
    we are looking for
  • After taking the classes, you should already know
    how to prepare one
  • Preparing one is something that your employer
    could ask you to do
  • The project is your opportunity to engage in
    reflections about best practices and the
    importance of an academic theory

Theme and Topic
  • Identify a theme/topic
  • Theme
  • The general discipline or set of disciplines in
    which your dissertation falls in.
  • Example Marketing, operations management,
    international human resource management, etc.
  • Topic
  • The type of question/issue that you are going to
    address, generally speaking.
  • Examples
  • CRM (Marketing)
  • Scheduling (operations management)
  • Expatriate compensation design (IHRM)

Problems Choosing a Topic?
  • Sources of ideas
  • An idea or a statement in a textbook/paper
    strikes you
  • As being important, misunderstood, or overlooked
    in real life.
  • As being an over-generalisation, or an overly
    romantic idea.
  • Replication research
  • Re-do an important survey done 5 or 10 years ago
    are the findings still true? Or target a
    specific industry.
  • Test a conceptual model which was never tested in
    the research literature.
  • Call for papers
  • The best source of information for topical
  • Call for consultation
  • Issued by government about policies, etc.
  • Newspaper article/Company newsletter
  • Tackle a controversial issue discussed in a
    newspaper article with a rigorous research

Remember You should find the research topic
interesting and exciting.
Examples of Past Projects Proposals
  • Barid Al Maghribs Competitiveness in the Parcels
  • Organizational and Managerial Changes for
    Implementing a Total Quality Management System
    Case of Barid Al Maghrib
  • Evaluating the Cash Management System at Barid Al

Examples of Past Projects Proposals
  • An Implementation System of Management by
    Objectives A Case Study of Barid Al Maghrib
  • The Area Market Contractor- A Case of the
    Coca-Cola Company Morocco
  • Future Prospects of Branded Pharmaceutical
    Products in a Generic Oriented Market
  • An Analysis of JLECs New Perspective in Meeting
    the Requirements of A Potential Competitive Market

Examples of Past Projects Proposals
  • Contribution to the Assessment of the Role of
    Knowledge in Oil Prospection in Morocco
  • Infrastructure Projects Financing Using
    Securitization The case of ADM (Autoroutes du
  • An Implementation of A Costing System A Case
    Study of Barid Al Maghrib
  • Strategic Leadership Application to Business

Examples of Past Projects Proposals
  • Building Méditel Customer Relationship Management
    (CRM) Strategy
  • Atlas Blue The Moroccan Low Fare Airlines
    Operating Costs
  • Strategy to Develop Direct Sales and Marketing
    Within Royal Air Maroc
  • Dates in Morocco Market study for The Moroccan
    Dates Farm (MDF) Company

Examples of Past Projects Proposals
  • Strategic Plan for Maghrebail for the Period
  • Strengthening Barid Al-Maghrib brand Image and
    identity - Starting from inside
  • Competitor Analysis Preparing for the next
    threat to postal money orders
  • Subsidiarization Reasons, Benefits and
    Perspectives. The case of Royal air Maroc Cargo.

Evaluation of the Proposal
  • What should be in the proposal
  • Key research questions/objectives/hypothesis
  • Why is it important?
  • Overview of research method, including data
  • Expected contribution, identify target audience

Evaluation of the Proposal
Formulating Objectives
  • It is important to differentiate the topic from
    the objectives of the project
  • The objectives is what you are setting to achieve
  • It is also the formulation of the basis on which
    you want your work to be assessed

Worst Case Scenarios
  • Formulating objectives that you do not address or
  • Resist the temptation of sounding good
  • If, in the course of your project, you feel that
    you cannot attain the objectives, change them!
  • But make sure that the alternatives objectives
    are worthy!
  • Formulating fuzzy objectives
  • Evaluation is unconstrained, and likely to be
    very critical

Example 1
  • Theme Operations Management
  • Topic Supply chain management
  • Title Designing a supply chain for the OCP
  • Objectives
  • Review best practices about supply chain design
  • Discuss to what extent these best practices are
    relevant/suitable to the Moroccan context
  • Formulate a framework to filter the elements of
    good practices that are relevant from those that
    are not
  • Make practical design recommendations for the OCP

Example 2
  • Theme Management
  • Topic Moral Contracts
  • Title Which moral contracts for Moroccan textile
    factory workers
  • Objectives
  • Review the practice of moral vs. legal contracts
  • Discuss to what extent moral contracts are a
    solution to tense industrial relations
  • Discuss to what extent the Moroccan context is
    compatible with moral contracts
  • Formulate practical recommendations to improve
    industrial relations through the use of moral

Exercise 1
  • On an A4 piece of paper, prepare a summary
    project proposal containing only (1) theme, (2)
    topic, (3) title, and (4) objective
  • Nothing More !!!

Assessment of final project
  • Final Project Workshop

  • By a committee (3 faculty members)
  • Of both the written and the oral components
  • Remember that apart from your supervisor, this
    will be the first exposure of the rest of the
    committee with your work
  • You have to be convincing
  • You have to be professional
  • You are the expert on the subject matter

  • Remember that business studies include many
  • Huge difference between the research standards of
    an economist, management expert, and of a
  • We try to match the committee members to a topic,

  • Never present something you do not understand or
    that you are not ready to debate
  • Interact with your supervisor accept critics
    from him/her
  • A friendly critic is the chance to be well
    prepared for your oral defence and avoid getting

  • Listen to the questions and comments
  • Take your time composing an answer
  • Try to understand the perspective of the question
  • Is there a misunderstanding?
  • Has the person asking the question missed

  • Stand your ground but
  • Based on professional, technical answers
  • Never
  • Lose your temper
  • Be too stubborn
  • And remember that
  • If you think a question is out of
  • Other committee members will see it
  • They might even step in!

Exercise 2
  • Give your exercise 1 to your neighbour. Prepare
    a 5 minutes assessment of your neighbours

Types of ProjectProject Methodologies
  • Final Project Workshop

Types of Project
  • There are many types of works that are acceptable
    for your final project
  • Remember that the quality of a project will
    always be assessed with criteria specific to the
    class of projects it belongs to
  • Make sure that you do not try to achieve with a
    case study what should be done with a survey, or
    vice versa!

Types of project
  • Multiple case studies
  • Survey research
  • Quantitative modelling
  • Empirical vs. Axiomatic
  • Empirical A model is derived/tested from/with
    empirical data.
  • Aximoatic A model is designed/tested/improved
    through mathematical analysis or simulation.
  • Descriptive vs. Normative
  • Descriptive Describes and seeks to explain a
    real-life phenomenon
  • Normative Seeks to formulate a policy
  • Single case study
  • Case Study
  • Action research
  • Can be a problem solving exercise for a company
  • Conceptual research
  • Literature review
  • Critical
  • Comparative
  • Systematic Literature review
  • Building a conceptual research model, solving a
    paradox or debate in the literature

Anatomy of a Research Project
Objectives Questions/hypothesis Literature
Review Research model Research Framework
Contribution to Knowledge Analysis,
synthesis, Reflection Conclusions
How can it be tackled?
Research Method/Process
Are used for
Research method
  • What is not a research method
  • I will use a case study approach. Case studies
    present advantages for the in-depth analysis of a
    problem but limitations in terms of
  • This is a research approachor a discussion about
    a research approach.
  • What is a research method
  • I will use case studies to explore whether or not
    corporate citizenship has a positive impact on
  • Corporate citizenship is defined as
    effectiveness assessed as follows The
    relationships between the two will be displayed
    in a matrix including several comparative case
  • A research method is a process through which you
    are going to move the reader from questions, to
    data, to findings, and eventually to conclusion.
  • If your process is poor, your findings are
  • If you process is unclear, your research cannot
    be audited/replicated

Lessons Learned
  • Students tended to discuss research methods at an
    abstract level
  • They showed more concerns with justifying a
    research approach (e.g. qualitative rather than
    quantitative research) than with designing a
    consistent and competent research process
  • Your research method section should
  • Clear
  • Practical
  • A description of a process
  • A justification of the quality and relevance of
    the process

  • Objectives To study if a franchised retailer
    should stay in a network or operate independently
    to avoid cash flows problems.
  • Constraints
  • Informal (non documented) management style
  • Data reliability
  • Method
  • Simulation
  • Comparison of franchised and independent business
  • Assess credibility and robustness of model

Note The dissertation outline should
clearly follow this process.
Example of Survey Research
  • Klassen, R. and B. Florez. 2001. Forecasting
    practices of Canadian firms survey results and
    comparisons, International Journal of Production
    Economics, Vol. 70, pp. 163-174.
  • Research Goal (1) survey forecasting practices
    and (2) comparison with academic view
    (theory/practice gap)?
  • Literature review previous forecasting surveys
  • Research method
  • Sample selection from Kompass according to
    pre-specified criteria
  • Call each firm to identify name of forecasting
    individual and secure participation
  • Mailing
  • Two follow-up mailings
  • Target 800 respondents Obtained 118 completed
  • Basic Descriptive statistics in paper

A significant conclusion for academics is
that practitioners are not using many of the
things that academics teach. There is a need to
identify the reasons why some of the things that
we cherish are not being used as frequently. They
include, among others, the use of sophisticated
quantitative methods, the combination of
forecasts, and the estimation of confidence
Example Case Study Research
  • Da Silveira, G. and N. Slack. 2001. Exploring
    the trade-off concept, International Journal of
    Production and Operation Management, Vol. 21, pp.
  • Research Goal Discuss whether or not trade-off
    exist in operations strategy
  • Literature review trade-off debate
  • Research method
  • Multiple case studies
  • Case studies are used to formulate a model and 14

Action Research An Example
  • Coughlan, P. and E. Brady. 1995. Journal of
    Managerial Psychology, 10, 6, pp. 41-47.
  • Objectives
  • Establish benchmarks of current practices in the
    management of the product development process in
    five manufacturing firms drawn from differing
    industries in Ireland.
  • Increase awareness of areas of choice in the
    management of product development among
    manufacturing firms in Ireland with a view to
    improving their management of this development
  • Timetable February 1994 to July 1994 for the
    execution of the action research programme
  • Project structure in three phases actions from
    industrial and academics participants
    (proposition formulation and change) in the last
    two phases.

Example Axiomatic-Normative
  • Bayus, B. 1997. Speed to market and New Product
    Performance Trade-off, Journal of Product
    Innovation Management, 14, pp. 485-497.
  • Research goal
  • To formulate policies regarding trading-off speed
    to market and product performance in a variety of
  • Literature review
  • Supports the importance of the trade-off
  • Modelling variables
  • Model Building
  • Mathematical based on standard practice
  • Simulation of data to observe model behaviour
  • Analysis through regression

Example Axiomatic-Normative
Example Empirical-Descriptive
  • Krause, D. 1999. The antecedents of buying
    firms efforts to improve suppliers, Journal of
    Operations Management, 17, 205-224.
  • Objectives Discover the conditions which drive
    firm to invest in supplier development.
  • Approach
  • Extensive literature review is used to build a
    conceptual model
  • And formulate hypotheses
  • Questionnaire designed after model
  • Survey
  • Analysis of Results (structural equation

Exercise 3
  • Select the key objectives from exercise 1.
    Select a suitable methodology.

Other Issues
  • Final Project Workshop

Writing a Proposal
  • Remember how the proposal is going to be
  • There is no length guideline
  • The purpose of a proposal is to convince
  • And to attract a supervisor
  • It can be short (3-4 pages) or already a good
    chunk of the final report (10-20 pages)
  • Try to work with a supervisor early on

The Role of the Supervisor
  • To read and provide feedback on any draft or
    document that you write.
  • To provide guidance in terms of directions,
    readings, approaches, interpretation, etc.
  • Different types of supervision
  • Close the supervisor has a significant input in
    the final form of your dissertation selection
    of research questions, demonstration of using
    statistical or analytical software, numerous
    meetings, editing of several dissertation drafts.
  • Remote the supervisor may read on a draft if and
    when you submit it few meetings points to
    general direction and provides general guidance.
  • Normally, the project is your project how you
    want to work with a supervisor is your decision.
  • Note different supervisors draw the line
    differently as to where supervision stops
  • The supervisor is one of the person assessing you

Finding a Supervisor
  • First scenario
  • You have already identified a supervisor
  • Ask directly if he or she would like to supervise
  • Let me know who has agreed to supervise you
  • Notes
  • Be ready to take no for an answer
  • One person cannot supervise more than 2/3
  • Second scenario
  • You submit a draft proposal to the coordinator
  • The coordinator will find a supervisor for you
  • Problems with identifying a topic
  • Contact the coordinator

  • Managed on a ad-hoc basis
  • Make sure that too much confidentiality issues
    are not going to starve your project from content

Prix de la Recherche
  • Yearly price managed by LEconomiste
  • As a Masters thesis, your final project report
    can be entered
  • Reports in English will be considered by the jury

Writing a Literature Review
  • Final Project Workshop

Literature Reviews
  • A literature review is a summary of a subject
    field that support the identification of specific
    research questions (Wooley and Slack, 2004)
  • enabling researchers to both map and assess the
    existing intellectual territory, and to specify a
    research question to develop the existing body of
    knowledge further (Tranfield et al., 2003)

Conceptions of Literature Reviews (Bruce, 1994)
Complex features of literature reviews
  • Dialogue and Organisational Context
  • Increasing trend toward research teams
  • Review panel of systematic literature reviews /
    evidence based research
  • Complex organisational relationships
  • Supervisor/research student
  • Inert dialogue
  • Literature reviews as expert witnesses (Metcalfe,
  • Transitional Nature
  • Literature review as an ongoing process

Structuring Literature Reviews
  • Rowley and Slack (2004)
  • Conceptual maps and mind maps
  • Tranfield et al. (2003) in the context of
    systematic literature reviews
  • Realist synthesis,
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Problems
  • Unknown, untried methods
  • Weak methodologies
  • Difficult to justify contribution to knowledge on
    epistemological grounds

Typical Quality Dimensions for Assessing
Literature Reviews (Bruce, 2001)
  • Topicality,
  • Comprehensiveness (exhaustiveness),
  • Breadth,
  • Relevance,
  • Currency,
  • Exclusion,
  • Authority,
  • Availability.

Add structure !
Recommended Assessment Framework
  • Competence
  • Congruence
  • Consistence
  • Stability

Achieving Consistency
  • Poole and Van de Ven (1989)
  • Using paradoxes to produce theories
  • Opposition
  • Spatial separation
  • Temporal separation
  • Synthesis

Draft Proposal Presentation
  • From this morning exercise, develop a more
    complete draft proposal describe which
    literature you will look at and make a summary
    5/10 mn presentation

Current Issues in Business Research
  • Final Project Workshop

Call for Papers
  • Offshoring of service and knowledge work
  • Topics
  • 1.Strategic and Organizational Issues
  • What types of services and knowledge functions
    can be outsourced?
  • Should we outsource or create corporate-owned
    offshore operations?
  • What are the best locations for offshore
    operations? How will this change over time?
  • How can we achieve performance breakthroughs
    through transformational outsourcing?

Call for papers
  • 2.Global Service and Knowledge Supply Chain
  • Can we really "follow the sun?" How do we best
    manage handoffs?
  • How does culture influence the management of
    geographically distributed operations?
  • How can we manage operations to minimize total
    cost of ownership from a supply chain
  • When using offshore service providers, will we
    encounter tradeoffs between operational
    efficiency and customer intimacy?
  • If so, can such tradeoffs be eliminated or
  • 3.Tactical Issues
  • What are the best practices for coordinating the
    work of global virtual teams that include
    offshore service providers?
  • How can we maintain and improve the quality of
    offshore operations, especially when the service
    or knowledge work is outsourced to a third-party
  • Can we optimize global supply networks that
    include heavy service and knowledge component? If
    so, how can we make optimization approaches
    accessible to practicing managers?

Call for Papers
  • Research on Management of Technology and
    Innovation in a Global Context
  • Topics
  • How do national/cultural differences affect the
    use of technology to solve problems?
  • Are there cultural differences in preferred
    innovation processes? If there are differences,
    what is the impact?
  • How do macro-economic differences affect
    country-specific innovation policies and
    practices and/or use of technology?
  • Are there specific organizational features that
    facilitate or inhibit the cross-national transfer
    of knowledge and technology?
  • How do cultural and language differences affect
    the functioning of cross-national innovation
    teams? Are there best practices for
    cross-national innovation teams?
  • Is there a useful contingency model for the
    development of common technology versus country
    or region-specific technology (either products or
  • What is the role of organizational learning in
    the management and diffusion of technology in a
    global context?

Call for Papers - JIBS
  • Research Questions
  • How do MNE political strategies vary across
  • How do MNE political strategies influence firm
    performance and public policy?
  • How are MNE political strategies integrated with
    market strategies?
  • How does government or private sector corruption
    affect firm strategy and performance?
  • What is the relationship between private sector
    corruption and government corruption?
  • What determines the experience of corruption for
    firms and how can it be managed?
  • What is the best way to benchmark CSR activities
    of firms across countries?
  • Is there a tradeoff between CSR and firm
    performance and how does this vary across
  • What is the relationship between corporate
    leadership and CSR?
  • What is the relationship between government
    regulation and CSR in various countries?
  • What is the relationship between government
    corruption and MNE political strategies?
  • What is the relationship between MNE political
    strategies and their propensity to engage in CSR?
  • How do institutions affect the corruption, CSR
    and political activities of multinationals?

Call for Papers - JMS
  • Managerial Dimensions of Organizational Health
  • Work-life balance What are the effects of the
    present work environment pressures on worklife
  • balance for managers and their families? What are
    healthy strategies for managers and their
  • families to manage the stress?
  • Burn-out What are the early warning signs and
    symptoms of burn-out for managers? What
  • are the costs for the organization associated
    with burn-out? What are healthy strategies for
  • preventing and managing managerial burn-out?
  • Depression Why is depression a well-kept
    secret among executives? What is the predictors
  • and prevalence of depression among managers and
    organizational leaders? What are the health and
    performance risks of depression in managerial
  • Employee Assistance Programs How can employee
    assistance programs be best designed
  • for managers and leaders? How do EAPs benefit the
    organization when used well by managers and
  • leaders at work?
  • Top Management Teams What are the implications
    of health issues for top management
  • teams? Do top management teams need a chief
    psychological officer who monitors the health of
  • the team?

Call for Papers
  • Researching Global Media Conglomerates
  • Call for Papers The media industries are
    dominated by a number of large conglomerates
    whose interests and activities cut across many
    individual market segments such as publishing,
    audiovisual (TV and radio), film, sound
    recordings, and the Internet. Aside from these
    activities, what do we really know about these
    global media conglomerates? This issue of the
    International Journal on Media Management seeks
    original research that provides a basis for
    understanding the activities of global media
    companies. All research methodologies and
    perspectives are welcome, but papers that offer a
    theoretical foundation as well as an analytical
    focus are preferred.
  • Topics
  • Concentration and consolidation of media markets
    and industries
  • Assessing the power of media conglomerates at a
    global level
  • Strategies of global media companies
  • Managerial issues facing global media companies
  • The role of public policy in assessing global
    media conglomerates
  • Specific industry or company case studies
    involving global media companies

Call for Papers Journal of Electronic Commerce
  • Adoption and Impact of Business-to-Employee (B2E)
  • All topics related to the adoption, use and
    impact of B2E portals in organizations will be
    considered. B2E portals generally include Human
    Resources (HR) Services and Employee Self
    Services (ESS). However, in this issue, B2E
    portals refer to any corporate portals that
    involve management of employee relationship
    services. Topics of interest include, but not
    restricted to
  • a) Organizational decisions to adopt B2E portals
  • b) Implementation of B2E portals in
  • c) Case studies addressing success or failure of
    B2E portals in organizations
  • d) Studies on the impact and challenges
    associated with B2E portals
  • e) Satisfaction with B2E portals
  • f) B2E portals architecture
  • g) Web-based tools for building B2E portals
  • h) Effectiveness of B2E portals
  • i) B2E portals and employee ethical issues
  • j) B2E portals and cultural issues

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