Management Academic’s PhD Dream Fulfilled

Management Academic’s PhD Dream Fulfilled
Dr Mervywn Williamson with colleagues Ms Kressantha Perumal (left) and Ms Jayrusha Gurayah.

Lecturer in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Dr Mervywn Williamson, has been awarded a PhD in Management from the College of Law and Management Studies for his thesis titled: “Perceptions and Experiences of an Organisational Misfit: A Grounded Theory Study of South African Employees”.

Williamson dedicated the thesis to his mother, Mrs Winnie Williamson. ‘I have dedicated my thesis to her because she has made tremendous sacrifices in getting me and my three other siblings educated. She inspired me to reach for my dreams.’

To Williamson, obtaining a PhD was crucial as he is committed to contributing to the creation of new knowledge for future generations.

‘The rationale behind my study was to make a meaningful contribution to literature by extending our understanding “misfit”. A considerable amount of research has attempted to explain what “fit” is as the many positive spin-offs associated with “fitting in” at work. ‘Misfit, on the other hand, has been neglected', he said.

‘Before the completion of my study, not much was known about what “misfit” really means to employees, what causes employees to misfit at work, and how employees cope with this condition.’ 

According to Williamson scholars in the field of Industrial/Organisational Psychology, Human Resources and Management will benefit from his study. ‘The findings could set the platform for further large-scale studies in the area of misfit and could benefit managers in the corporate sector grappling with the issue of how to deal with misfitting employees.’   

In line with the College’s goal to improve research productivity Williamson’s future plans include publishing a series of articles from his thesis.

Williamson’s study was supervised by Professor David Coldwell. Commenting on his achievement, Williamson said: ‘I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am extremely honoured to be graduating from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and would like to commend the leadership for having the vision and determination to ensure that all academics commit to obtaining their doctorates within the next few years.

‘Having a PhD will imbue me with a sense of confidence to engage in collaborative research with academics from other institutions, both in South Africa and internationally. I will be in a position to supervise doctoral students thus contributing to the College’s mandate of increasing postgraduate throughput,’ he concluded.

-          Hazel Langa


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UKZN at the Forefront of Shaping Business Leaders

UKZN at the Forefront of Shaping Business Leaders
Dr Abdul Kader (centre) with his students Ms Mogna Govender and Mr Calvin Singh.

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s (GSB&L) commitment to training and developing leaders to become versatile and successful in all spheres of life as well as being passionate about the social and local economic development of South Africa was evident when three members of the Nedbank management team graduated with MBA degrees.

The three were Nedbank Area Manager, Mr Calvin Singh; Nedbank’s Musgrave Bank Branch Manager, Ms Mogna Govender; and Nedbank Area Manager, Ms Melanie Reddy.

Singh tackled an MBA study on the Financial Education of new Nedbank clients.

The need for financial literacy is close to Singh’s heart - ‘I know that helping people to financial fitness is a life skill, as it can help eradicate poverty, unemployment and unhappy families amongst many other social challenges today. Certainly being financially smart has helped me out of poverty and it will definitely help many others.’

It was a double celebration for Singh whose daughter also graduated in the College of Humanities on 12 April.

Govender’s dissertation focussed on the effect of customer service on customer loyalty in the fiercely competitive retail banking environment. Her study was motivated by the global and local competition which has increased the importance of quality service, customer satisfaction and subsequently customer loyalty, towards creating a sustainable competitive advantage.

On her plans for the future she said: ‘I am going to pursue Doctoral studies in Business Administration. I think it is imperative that the leadership of any organisation be informed about the latest trends and developments relating to their business.’

Reddy’s dissertation was titled: “Managing the Talent Pipeline in a Retail Bank Contact Centre in KwaZulu-Natal: A Case Study”. The purpose of her study was to investigate the role of talent management in the Nedbank Contact Centre and how this could contribute to the retention, attraction and commitment of employees.

On the value of her studies to her work she said: ‘Being a Manager of others is a tough role and the findings of my research have helped me to better understand our employees.  I have personally implemented the recommendations in my own area and have seen great results.’ 

The Nedbank trio agreed that the MBA journey was an arduous one but also one of the most gratifying experiences of their lives.

They were all grateful to Nedbank for investing in their careers and appreciated the support of their families and their supervisor, Dr Abdul Kader of the GSB&L.

-          Hazel Langa


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Research Explores the Need for Social Renewal in South Africa

Research Explores the Need for Social Renewal in South Africa
Single father and PhD graduate Dr Gerard Boyce celebrating the moment with his son Eli.

Curiosity about the social hierarchy which seems to govern inter-group relations in South Africa is what motivated PhD in Economics graduate Dr Gerard Boyce to research the “Relationship between Perceptions of Racial Identity, Hope and Young People’s Educational Aspirations in the country”.

Boyce considers getting a PhD a bonus for pursuing his research interest, the results of which he aims to use in a hope-building  and environmental initiative he plans to establish while studying for his post-doctoral degree at UKZN.

‘I investigated whether hope levels and one’s perceptions of one’s racial identity were related to career expectations and a series of preferences /attitudes which have been found to affect economic decision-making,’ said Boyce.

‘I undertook this research among a sample of young people at schools in South Durban. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I found that these two psychological variables were related to a number of attitudes. I believe that social and environmental renewal are natural counterparts and that environmental renewal can serve as a metaphor for the social renewal that needs to take place in South Africa.’

Since he gave up his research job to study fulltime, Boyce says he does not have the pressure of juggling work and his studies. However, he did face personal challenges as his mother died during the first year of his studies but his motivation to set a good example for his son kept him going.

‘I'm a single father and my greatest motivation is to be a good father. I know my sister’s really proud of me and my son wonders why I’m not a “real doctor”. I would like to acknowledge the supportive role my supervisor, Professor Geoff Harris, played throughout my thesis. It was a truly introspective experience and led me to search myself and to evaluate why I wanted this qualification and what I wanted out of life in general,’ he said.

-           Thandiwe Jumo


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PhD Study on Supply Chain Management Systems

PhD Study on Supply Chain Management Systems
Dr Patmond Mbhele was awarded a PhD.

Lecturer in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Dr Patmond Mbhele, has been awarded a PhD for a thesis titled: “Electronic Supply Chain Management Systems in Managing the Bullwhip Effect on selected Fast Moving Consumer Goods”.

Mbhele was supervised by Dr Maxwell Phiri from the College of Law and Management Studies.

Mbhele said his study investigated the selected fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry on the amplified consumer demand order variability as orders move from downstream to the midstream as well as upstream sites of the supply chain network.

Phiri believes that the findings of Mbhele’s study respond to South African challenges and indirectly inform about supply chain reform pillars within the retail industry.

‘The PhD journey is physically and emotionally arduous, intellectually challenging but self-fulfilling,’ said Mbhele who praised Phiri for his wisdom and guidance.

He added: ‘Despite the long hours, unprecedented workload and every other challenge in seeking professional fulfilment, deciding to pursue a PhD should emanate from the love of intellectual stimulation to tackle intellectual problems and explore new areas of knowledge economy. Getting a PhD is intellectually rewarding and partly meets the required credentials for an academic job.

Mbhele is one of four academics to graduate with a doctoral degree in the College of Law and Management Studies in 2014. This achievement is commended by the College Management as it contributes to the College target to have 60% of academic staff with PhDs by 2017.

-          Hazel Langa


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PhD Study to Interest Tax Practitioners

PhD Study to Interest Tax Practitioners
International Tax Expert Dr Daniel Erasmus.

International Tax Expert and Author, Dr Daniel Erasmus, earned his PhD with a dissertation which examined the impact of the Constitution on tax legislation.

The thesis was titled: “An Analysis of Challenging the Commissioner’s Discretionary Powers Invoked in Terms of sections 74A and 74B of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 in Light of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa”.

This study, supervised by Professor Robert Williams from UKZN’s School of Law, analyses the new constitutional avenues available to taxpayers to challenge the exercise by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service of the draconian discretionary powers vested in him by South Africa’s Income Tax Act.

Commenting on the study, Williams said: ‘This thesis makes a valuable contribution to the emerging scholarly literature on the impact of the Constitution on tax legislation and on the exercise of discretionary powers by organs of state. His study will be of great interest to tax practitioners countrywide and to the judges in the Tax Court and the superior courts.’

Erasmus, who lectures as an Adjunct Professor of International Tax Law based at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the United States, frequently visits Africa to advise on tax-related disputes for multi-national clients.

Erasmus is grateful to his family for fully supporting his studies and work commitments. As a seasoned author he plans to convert the thesis into a textbook.

- Hazel Langa


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PhD Student Graduates with his Native Tanzania Uppermost in his Mind

PhD Student Graduates with his Native Tanzania Uppermost in his Mind
Dr Edison Lubua sharing a special moment with his wife Agnes.

For Tanzanian-born Dr Edison Lubua graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems and Technology at the age of 32 is all about showing young people from rural disadvantaged communities that it is possible to achieve quality education even if it is beyond their borders.

Although working in Tanzania and studying in South Africa presented a lot of challenges in terms of academic, professional and personal responsibilities, Lubua knew that his research titled: “Adoption of e-Transparency in the Public Sector of Tanzania”, would be very useful to the Tanzanian community especially now that the nation is formulating its comprehensive National Information Communication Technology (ICT) policy.

‘My decision to pursue a doctorate was the result of challenges I faced in meeting my career goals. It was my desire to have a research career in technology.

‘While many citizens are increasingly adopting ICTs, their governments are still struggling with attendant issues of secrecy and transparency. I therefore decided to evaluate factors that influence the implementation of electronic transparent services in the Tanzanian public sector,’ he said.

As an ICT Specialist, Trainer and Researcher in the area of IS&T at Tanzania’s Mzumbe University, studying for his PhD at UKZN has created an opportunity for him to engage and network with other professionals across the continent thus creating links for collaborative research.

‘The qualification is vital in enhancing my career in a number of ways. I have broadened my understanding in research – research and teaching is the career I need. I have also managed to network with other professionals across the continent; this provides the room to explore research opportunities across the globe. It is also important to assume that other research stakeholders are now more confident about me, he said.

Although he did the leg work, Lubua is adamant he would have not succeeded in his academic journey were it not for the support of his wife, Agnes, who he married two months after starting his PhD.

In addition, his employer deterred him from quitting his job for his studies and lessened his work load, while his supervisor, Professor Manoj Maharaj, was with him every step of the way.

‘In the beginning I had the challenge of balancing my employment with academic responsibilities; I even thought of quitting my job. I am glad that my employer decided to release me in the second semester. Also, the research activity needed a lot of knowledge from different fields so I consulted anyone who I thought would be useful. Above all, I don’t think there can be a better supervisor than Professor Maharaj, he was very supportive.’

- Thandiwe Jumo


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PhD Study on the Rights of HIV/AIDS Affected Children

PhD Study on the Rights of HIV/AIDS Affected Children
Dr Rofiah Sarumi celebrating with her family.

Children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Botswana was the subject of a thesis by Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Law and Management Studies, Dr Rofiah Sarumi.

Sarumi received her PhD for the thesis titled: “The Protection of the Rights of Children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Botswana: A Critical Analysis of the Legal and Policy Responses”.

Sarumi’s study explored the legal protection of children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Botswana. She was supervised by Professor Marita Carnelley and Dr Ann Strode of the UKZN School of Law.

Commenting on Sarumi’s work, Strode said: ‘This thesis is significant as it creates and applies an analytical framework assessing the extent to which these countries protect the rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS. It shows the effectiveness of international law norms for guiding national responses within this field.’

Her passion for Human Rights began in 2004 when she pursued studies towards an LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. Over the past 10 years she has worked with parliamentarians of various SADC countries advocating the protection of the rights of children and women infected with HIV/AIDS to access health care facilities.

‘In the cause of my work, a lot of issues which relate to the protection of the rights of the vulnerable groups came up and I always felt that this is the area where I could make a change and to help the vulnerable groups,’ she said.

She says the support and encouragement from her family is what enables her to meet the demands of her highly demanding and yet fulfilling professional career as a Human Rights Activist.

She quipped: ‘My husband and children are very proud of me. My children who are 10, six and two do not fully understand what a PhD is but I hear them saying “mum has written a very big book called a PhD”.’

Sarumi is currently expanding the scope of her thesis and using the findings of her study to help the voiceless.

- Hazel Langa


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PhD Thesis Explores Gender Relationships in the DRC

PhD Thesis Explores Gender Relationships in the DRC
Dr Maroyi Willy Mulumeoderhwa received a Doctorate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies.

Research into the conflicts in relationships between young men and women in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) resulted in Mr Maroyi Willy Mulumeoderhwa receiving a Doctorate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies.

Mulumeoderhwa’s PhD thesis was titled: “Building More Peaceful Gender Relationships in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic Congo 2012”.

He researched the attitudes and reported behaviour towards relationships of secondary school students in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Explaining the rationale for exploring this sensitive topic, he said ‘I was motivated to building respectful, nonviolent gender relationships.’

A total of 56 boys and girls aged betwen16-20 from two urban and two rural high schools in South Kivu Province took part in focus groups and 40 of these were subsequently interviewed individually.

His findings revealed the majority of boys felt that they were entitled to sex with their girlfriends. ‘If persuasion was unsuccessful, the use of force was legitimate. In their minds, this does not constitute rape,’ said Mulumeoderhwa.

‘The girls, on the other hand, were clear that such forced sex was rape. However, rape was perceived as having increased in recent years and was explained by weak legal systems, pornography and provocative dressing by girls.’

He noted that boys were also angry at the competition from older, often married men who were able to provide monetary and other incentives to the girls.

Mulumeoderhwa said for girls the risk of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases and loss of respect – their self-respect and the respect of their boyfriend – made them careful about having sex.

The research revealed that for boys, sex in a relationship was seen as normal and a key indicator of them entering manhood.

Mulumeoderhwa faced various challenges in conducting research, including the sensitive nature of his topic. ‘Research that deals with often taboo sexual topics must be aware of possible limitations concerning the honesty and completeness of participants’ responses.

‘Knowing the above issue, I had to hire and train a female fieldworker who matched the gender demographics of participants to conduct female single-sex interviews and focus groups.’

Commenting on graduating with a PhD, Mulumeoderhwa said, ‘This was a long journey, today I am very excited to reach the end.’

He offered the following advice for students interested in reading for a PhD. ‘PhD is a challenging programme that requires sacrifice, perseverance, courage, focus, and hard work.’

Mulumeoderhwa is currently supervising students at UKZN and is also a Research Assistant at the Durban University of Technology.  He plans to be a “top academic” in the future.

He has spent recent years exploring peace studies and developing his academic prowess. ‘Since I embarked on my Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, I realised the importance of research as an important aspect of the academic career. I also embarked on my PhD project that I completed after three years. This research has produced two journal publications so far.’

Mulumeoderhwa, who also published a number of journal articles in peer-reviewed journals, is married with four children.

-                      Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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Graduate Hopeful Finance Qualification will Give him a Boost

Graduate Hopeful Finance Qualification will Give him a Boost
Mr Olivier Niyitegeka was awarded a Masters degree cum laude.

Master of Commerce in Finance cum laude graduate, Rwandan-born Mr Olivier Niyitegeka hopes to use his qualification to climb the academic ladder.

Niyitegeka, a Lecturer at Regent Business School, said he was motivated to pursue this qualification at UKZN because he knew it would give him an edge over his peers in terms of knowledge and job opportunities.

‘An MCom is a good qualification to have for someone who wants to pursue a career as an academic.  It increases the prospect of getting a rewarding job.

As a Lecturer of quantitative subjects such as statistics, economics and mathematics of finance, Niyitegeka’s dissertation titled:  “An Analysis of Herd Behaviours in the South African Stock Exchange”, was in line with emerging new theories in the field of behaviour finance.

The research investigated the presence of herd behaviour in the South African stock market which Niyitegeka explains is the key concepts in behaviour finance.

‘Herd behaviour occurs when investors disregard their individual information and base their trading decision on the actions of others. This market abnormality contradicts existing theories in academic finance,’ said Niyitegeka. ‘Indeed it is believed that financial markets are efficient with security prices reflecting all the information that is available pertaining to companies. The results of my study pointed toward a considerable presence of herding among South African investors.’

Niyitegeka’s research also incorporated interdisciplinary elements as it includes a section discussing herding behaviour from a social psychology perspective which is unusual in finance articles.

‘I also used an Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) model to investigate the short and long term dynamics of herd behaviour. To the best of my knowledge no other study had used this model to investigate herd behaviour,’ he said.

For Niyitegeka whose dreams to study at a tertiary institution were realised when he came to South Africa, graduating cum laude is cause for great celebration.

‘My family is very proud of my achievements since I am the only child in my family to get a university qualification let alone a masters degree,’ he said.

-           Thandiwe Jumo


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Educator to use Doctoral Qualification to Improve Education in Malawi


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Providing quality education to the youth of Malawi is what motivated graduate Dr Jacqueline Chazema to strengthen her academic profile by studying for a doctoral degree.

In her current position as the Deputy Director of the Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development Centre for Africa (GCYDCA)  Chazema plays a critical role in ensuring that African girls and boys of school-going age attain a quality of life free from preventable social problems such as poverty, disease, sexual abuse or violence through guidance, counselling and youth development services.

Her Doctor of Philosophy qualification will enhance her capacity to deliver as the link between the GCYDCA and the colleges and universities in Africa and beyond.

‘The qualification is rewarding and has an added value to my contributions towards the achievement of high quality education in Malawi and Africa.  As a Lecturer at the College of Education, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, the qualification means being qualified to teach at any level within the college and within the University of Malawi, an effort worth contributing towards the achievement of quality education in Malawi,’ said Chazema.

As issues around HIV and AIDS and the teacher education system keep expanding, so does Chezema’s research interests in the subject. She has been involved in identifying strategies that would help the Malawi teacher training colleges in creating an atmosphere of openness for the teaching of HIV and AIDS in Malawi since 1996.

Her dissertation titled: “Managing Systems Change in the Malawi Teacher Education System in the Context of HIV and AIDS”, focused on providing a better understanding of how the Malawian teacher education system could best embrace and manage HIV and AIDS Education and how best the system can be shaped through a responsive systems reform process.

The findings of the study revealed that the Malawian teacher education system has not succeeded in managing change in the context of the pandemic, which might explain why the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic after 29 years of its existence and highlighted the importance of managing change in the teacher education system in the context of the disease as one sure way of contributing towards this effort.

‘The qualification is rewarding as there is nothing to make a person happier than realising they can also develop a model for their nation - a model that will change things and make change happen effectively. The importance of my effort to develop a model for informing a reform process in embracing the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the teacher education system in Malawi cannot be overemphasised. The realisation of a dream is also innately rewarding,’ explained Chazema.

Chazema’s supervisors Professor Kriben Pillay and Professor Garth Allen expressed immense pride in her achievement. It was through Allen’s commitment and dedication that Chazema joined the then Leadership Centre as a doctoral student.

‘When I first met Chazema in Malawi in 2010 she struck me as a very modest but committed student who was intent on achieving her goal. She worked diligently to produce the end result,’ said Pillay.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Career Paths Set for Top Honours Achievers

Career Paths Set for Top Honours Achievers
Mr Brian Skea was awarded a BCom Honours summa cum laude.

Bachelor of Commerce Honours summa cum laude graduate Mr Brian Skea will use his postgraduate qualifications as a stepping stone to a successful career.

Skea, who is considering a career in information technology, says that doing an honours degree has opened up opportunities for him to create a network with business contacts and support structures which will be valuable for his future career.

Skea’s research titled: “Computer E-safety in Schools”, investigated high school teachers’ perspectives and understanding of and access to resources relating to the domain of E-safety.

‘The qualification has placed me in a favourable position in the IT job market,’ said Skea.  ‘UKZN is a fine academic institution which provides tremendous support through its learning structures with willing lecturers and cutting-edge facilities. I found my research challenging yet fulfilling and I have already been approached by some large corporate companies.

‘I hope to one day return to study towards an MBA degree at UKZN after which I will hopefully acquire a managerial consulting position,’ said Skea.

-          Thandiwe Jumo


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PhD Study Explores Environmental Laws in Nigeria

PhD Study Explores Environmental Laws in Nigeria
Environmental Law Expert Dr Kayode Oyende.

Lagos State University academic Dr Kayode Oyende received a PhD for his thesis titled: “An Appraisal of the Law Relating to Oil Pollution in the Inland Territorial and Maritime Waters of Nigeria”.

Oyende was one of 26 doctoral candidates to graduate from the College of Law and Management Studies during the 2014 Graduation ceremonies.

Oyende’s study responds to environmental challenges facing Nigeria due to oil spills. This study was supervised by UKZN’s Environmental Law Expert, Professor Michael Kidd.

He said as an international postgraduate student he sacrificed a lot to achieve his goal. ‘The experience was new to me because it was the first time I had been out of Nigeria to study. I missed my family, the food was foreign and the weather was cold.’

‘The achievement of a PhD is an exciting one with bright prospects of promotion and vertical mobility. My goal is to publish my research findings in reputable journals and enrich the body of knowledge in my area of expertise which is Environmental Law and specifically oil pollution.’

-          Hazel Langa


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Research Explores Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions

Research Explores Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions
Dr Knowledge Ngwane celebrating with his wife Cabangile.

Doctor of Administration graduate Dr Knowledge Ngwane hopes his research will help reduce sexual harassment which has a negative impact on staff performance.

His study - titled: “Workplace Harassment and its Impact on Staff Performance: a Case Study of a South African Higher Education Institution” - has highlighted a need for a comprehensive workplace harassment policy which encompasses bullying, psychological harassment, religious harassment and stalking, rather than sexual harassment only.

Employed at the Durban University of Technology as a Lecturer in the Department of Information and Corporate Management for the past 14 years, Ngwane said: ‘The research presents a sound basis on how to implement harassment policy and provides a list of available aid measures for employees who are victims of workplace harassment. Its findings aim to contribute to the establishment of  procedures to deal with workplace harassment, organising a range of professional assistance which will help other organisations and  developing a workplace harassment policy for selected Higher Education Institutions,’ said Ngwane.

The study’s finding goes beyond the field of Public Administration as it touches on Law, Management, Governance and Organisational Behaviour which opens up opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Ngwane is currently working on two papers for publication to accredited journals and is hoping to be a professor in five years’ time.

-          Thandiwe Jumo and Nombuso Dlamini


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