How can doctorates in business administration contribute to the development of strategists?

  • William Huw Williams

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The emergence of the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in the United Kingdom (UK) in the past twenty years has heralded a significant departure in the approach to doctoral level business research. Key to the development of the DBA is its focus on engagement with organisations. This study explores a specific aspect of this engagement, a DBA’s potential contribution to the development of strategists. The thesis is based on fourteen in-depth unstructured interviews with key respondents in the DBA community, namely, students, academic staff and staff from quasi-governmental agencies. Care was taken to select a purposeful sample of respondents who represented the range of informed perspectives on DBAs and their potential relationship with the development of strategists. An inductive approach to analysing the interview transcripts was initially applied. This was done to explore the subject from as wide a perspective as possible. This inevitably produced some findings that may appear peripheral to the central research focus of this work but are in themselves worth reporting. The thesis also developed a conceptual frame consisting of key characteristics of strategists drawn from the extant literature. This frame formed the basis of a deductive analysis of the interviewee texts in order to form a perspective focused on the research aim and attendant research objectives. The study identifies that there are a number of different forms of DBA and the structures of the award are still evolving. Several assumptions about the recruitment of students, such as numbers, age and experience and the relationship between the DBA and the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) are questioned. The evidence in this study indicates that the DBA can have a positive influence on strategists’ key skill sets. Critically, DBAs can improve the reflective and reflexive abilities of individuals, particularly in the strategically important areas of creativity, analytical skills, communication, and strategic thinking. This, vii however, has not been identified by the key stakeholders within academia or outside the sector. The findings of this study might have important implications for those delivering DBAs, those intending to take a DBA, the organisations within which DBAs are placed and for government and sponsors of this form of high-level research. Thus, this study contributes to both practice and knowledge.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish

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