Cohort Initiative Produces Excellent Results
Four UKZN students who received support in their research and studies through a cohort initiative facilitated by Professor Maxwell Phiri of the School of Management, IT and Governance, have graduated with doctoral degrees.
The cohort supervision initiative began in 2015 and since then, 10 PhD candidates have graduated with the assistance of the approach.
The most recent PhD graduates are Dr Eric Ncube, Dr Maceline Nyatsambo, Dr Caston Munjoma and Dr Tongesai Mpofuwhowere members of a research community which met twice a month for dissertation writing and research supervision.
Phiri and Dr Patmond Mbhele were the supervisors.
Ncube’s study focused on changes in tastes and preferences of library patrons with regard to supply chain systems and processes. His work showed that libraries of the 21st Century had to be customer-centred in planning, sourcing and delivering which all involved the use of technology.
‘I have started publishing from my research under the guidance of my supervisors, Professor Phiri and Dr Mbhele who have been instrumental in my successful doctoral journey,’ he said.
Nyatsambo’s thesis investigated the capability of Zimbabwean hospitality marketing employees to use mobile marketing practices to advance domestic tourism. The thesis highlighted the need to promote new technologies to advance tourism in a developing economy. Results confirmed that the Zimbabwean tourism industry and its employees have embraced emerging technologies.
‘Under the good guidance of my supervisor Phiri, I managed to publish a research article in a Scopus 2018 listed journal. I presented papers at two international conferences, first in Mauritius then in Porto Portugal. In Porto, I won the best PhD paper presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Tourism Research held in Porto in 2019,’ she said.
Munjoma investigated integrated logistics planning in the Zimbabwean Defence Force, focusing on Harare, with his results revealing the lack of an integrated logistics planning approach within the Force which caused shortages of logistics resources, thereby compromising efficiency and effectiveness.
Munjoma found that the success of a 21st-century military force required knowledge about the revolution in military logistics which strives for total asset visibility, real-time response and focused logistics achieved through integrated logistics planning.
Mpofu’s study examined the possibility of adopting social media as a marketing communication tool for students at the Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe, using a sample of 400 respondents. The findings revealed that social media can positively and successfully be used as a marketing communication tool for new students.
Commenting on the success of the PhD cohort, Phiri said: ‘The degree opens up new avenues for growth in one's life. Supervising PhD students requires interest, passion and commitment from both the supervisor and the student. The cohort experience has taught us that nothing is impossible when one commits to a project.’
He said he was proud of the graduates and looked forward to the cohort generating more graduates and more publications.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga