MBA Stakeholder Theory

Stakeholder Theory

Business and management ethics encompasses numerous theories which provide adequate explanations on how moral and ethical issues in business can be addressed. They are important in management of businesses organizations because they set up the outline on which managers should monitor the distinctive operations in their organizations (Hasnas, 2013,112, p47-57). These theories are important in managing entities since they work towards establishing avenues that are important in guiding human beings in their daily activities. Theories like normative theory have been identified to be important in business management and organization control because it offers focus to managers and all other important stakeholders in the entity (Miles, 2012, 108, p285-98).

These theories attend to distinctive aspects in an organization which enables effective running of these entities. They have certain specifications which differentiate them from other theories and aid in outlining their purpose in a business setting. For instance, a theory like the normative theory is identified by its prescriptive nature and its ability to give direction on how certain actions should be done. It is known for its concerns about moral issues in an entity. This differentiates it from other theories like the philosophical ethics theory and many others. This paper therefore is focused towards establishing validity of stakeholder theory as an ethical theory which has been largely used in the business and organizational settings for long (Parmar, Freeman, Harrison, Wicks & Purnell, 2010, p10)

History of Stakeholder Theory

The stakeholder theory is an organization oriented as well as business focused theory which points out importance of shareholders in an entity, the rights that they deserve as well as benefits that they should get. These it explains based on the argument of maximizing shares of the shareholders their access to information as well as control on the issues of the organizations they are having shares in. the theory is said to have been established by Freeman in 1984 in order attend to ethical practices in business management (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.)

Understanding this theory it is significant to establish who these stakeholders are and what qualifications one have to be a stakeholder. This is important because it will help in ascertaining whether the arguments that the theory puts forth are valid or not. This in turn helps the study to identify the levels of ethics in this theory (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.)

.Stake holders are considered to be individuals or groups that have legal claims in the operation of an organization. These individuals or groups ranges from the local community where the business is situated to its suppliers, the people it employs, people possessing the organization`s stocks, its customers and all parties which plays important part in its existence (Wempe, 2008, 18, p549-53). The coordination of these groups is significant for development and growth of a company. Their interactions and coexistence will possibly determine the extent to which such a business entity can move in terms of prosperity, and it is due to exclusion that freeman noticed in his time that perpetuated development of stakeholder’s theory.

Stakeholder Theory Ethics

The theory can be considered ethical on different ground, first, ethics in the theory is identified by fact that it advocates for consideration of other parties which have important contribution in a firm. In this way it tries to disengage the ancient belief that operations in a business entity are directed towards increasing the profits of the stockholders while ignoring other groups like employees,  customers and local community which have numerous parts to play in the well-being of the business. Stakeholder theory stipulates that apart from stockholders other parties should be given adequate attention and their priorities should not be neglected. In this way the theory advocates for selflessness, which is an ethical aspect in the society. It tries to decentralize benefits of businesses to everyone and ensure equity in gains of business outcomes (Parmar, Freeman, Harrison, Wicks & Purnell, 2010, p10). It also has an active campaign against high preferences on profits rather than on their stakeholders who ensure that these profits are generated. It does this by pointing out and explaining the values of every stakeholder in operation and sustenance of a business entity. Every constituency in a business has an important role they play to ensure that the objectives and goal of the firm are met. It is therefore not the efforts of the shareholders which generate quality outcomes in a business but a combination of different parties which serves different purposes. This makes ideas that business is a moral involvement where people who do not work benefit at the expense of those who bear larger part of responsibility to lack relevance (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.)

Human beings are not means to an end but rather the end itself, groups` contributions towards prosperity of any entity cannot be considered means to an end. By addressing this fact stakeholder theory is justified as an ethical theory. This is because it tries to address issues of exploitation of human capacities, creativities and potentials in a way that will not be egalitarian (Miles, 2012, 108, p285-98). The theory argues that every stakeholder groups needs to be awarded its share of contribution in promoting future of the entity they are associated with. This becomes ethical since it tries to prevent instance of exploitation and greed which might be making some entities in a business better off while others are getting worse off.

By addressing how operations in modern organizations which do not take interests like basic needs of its stakeholders in accounts is a moral foundation on which this theory is built on. The theory identifies issues such as safety and health of the employees and other stakeholders to be equally important in the process of generating profits for the stakeholders. In this way an ethical working environment is facilitated where activities from economic entities which might be having adverse effects on those who contribute to growth of such an organization can be attended to and compensated adequately (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.)

In establishing fundamental moral principle in any business operation the theory advocates for equality in sharing of benefits of a business involvement. It is more directed to the universal moral attribution of human personality which Charles Taylor advocated for in his time. This means that everyone who is actively contributing to any process is bound to be considered relevant and significance participant in the process. Such parties have to receive shares of the outcome of the productive process that they took part in minus any form of exclusion. As a result of this the theory addresses need to ethical appreciation of human agents as important component in production. This he theory explains that it should be on an equal level without any form of inequality (Miles, 2012, 108, p285-98).

Pragmatism also emerges as another reason for the theory to be accepted as an ethical postulation. This is based on notion that, by managing stakeholders the entity is not only operating on ethical grounds but promotes its capacities to succeed since stakeholders are important people that an organization cannot operate without. In the same way world is controlled by principles of ethics and it is these principles that help to create order in all sought of interaction and engagement. This calls for need to establish explanation of the world, what is in it and how it operates. This creates the ethical basis of the theory, since it helps in creating order by establishing what constitutes business management and the expected relations in the business relations.

The theory also calls for coexistence and establishing of strong relationships between the participants of a business organization. This proves ethics in the theory since it implies that there is no business which cans operate in evacuee. In the same way the stakeholders depend on the business is the same way the business relies on the well-being of stakeholders. This makes these two parties to be inseparable hence the need to cordially coexist.

Summary of normative and stakeholder theory

Normative theories basically judges whether an action is moral or immoral based on two aspects and these are the consequences that an action causes as well as based on the characteristics of the actions themselves, their nature and manner in which they are carried out. The theory argues that an action can be right or wrong provide that it is promoting and individual`s long-term gain or it undermines it respectively. This argument is founded on the concept of egoism, these can be personal impersonal or psychological. All of these aspects have a common argument in that they advocates for taking particular decisions and courses in life that benefits one self.

On the contrary the utilitarian aspect argues differently, since it tries to address its concern a way from individualism. In this way it advocates for business decisions and activities to be done in a way that don’t benefit oneself but a greater number of people. Human actions should be directed towards creating the greatest welfare of human person in a universal way so as to ensure that people are at the same level and that others do not get disadvantaged while others are benefiting (Wempe, 2008, 18, p549-53).

Therefore according to normative theory net worth of happiness and well-being of human beings should be given first priority in enacting decisions. People should also be presented with equal opportunities to help them discover their full potentials and also to help the gain from whatever activity they are being involved in. in so doing greater degree of morality and ethics will be achieved.

The martin Friedman’s view that business entities do not have any form of moral obligation or social responsibility if not increasing the profits  that they generate in their operations is what is being referred to as shareholder theory. The theory argues that the shareholders are the main drivers of any business entity this calls for needs to be socially responsible to the shareholders and not their exclusion as it happens in most cases. The theory stipulates that business organization will not adequately attend to the society if it starts to concern itself with it. In this way it advocates for a society where the businesses ensure that the only responsibility they have on the society is to ultimately utilize their profits in a way that it does not operate outside set regulations and standards.

Stakeholder Theory
Stakeholder Theory

Critical analysis of both the normative and the shareholders theories provides imperical evidence can be established the shareholders theory is part of normative theory. This is because normative theory explains the importance of moral action to undertake when making certain decision. In the same way shareholder theory seems to be stressing on the same issue based on what should an organization do so that it does not make profit only but increase welfare of those who contributes to its growth.

Issues identified in the literature

There is issues of diversity in the stakeholder theory, the study realized that more than one variety of stakeholder theory do exist this is clearly presented by Goodpaster in his stakeholder analysis and stake holder synthesis. Therefore goes ahead to refute the idea of using stakeholders issues to introduce ethics in business management activities (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.). This issue can be resolved by identifying ethical practices which business institutions are supposed to incorporate in their operations so as to avoid contradictions which arise due to dualism in the theory. The other issue that the study has presented is absence of justifications for certain claims in the theory, this can be seen in Donaldson and Preston`s study which argues that the theory cannot be depended upon since it lacks proper justification for claim and postulations it makes. The other reason that the two give for inability to justify stakeholder theory is fact that the theory itself is a prescription of what is expected in an organizational setting and not description of what should be done to attain the expected ethical standards.

The theory is also divided between instrumental and normative theories. This makes its classification difficult undertaking since it bares characteristics of the two types of theories. It also deals with importance of managers and their contributions in a business. The theory points out reasons as to why stakeholders has to be given attention in an organization due to their financial contributions they make to business as well as other significant contributions. The work also focused on conflict within the stakeholder theory which makes it contradicts itself hence giving validation to the critics’ perspectives on why the theory should be applied as basis of ethics evaluation in an organization (Purnell & Freeman, 2012, 108, p285-98.)

Application of Stakeholder Theory

The theory was widely practiced in Australia in the period after the post-war, this practices was associated with increase and escalation of entities which called for managerial controls. Growth of huge corporations owned by the Americans as well as the increased bureaucracies in these periods to a large extent facilitated the development of this theory and its application. The need for its use was voiced by vast number of stakeholders in Australia at that time that seemed to possess limited influence on issues of management of entities where they were stakeholders (Wempe, 2008, 18, p549-53).

Lessons

When establishing a theory it is significant to address all the aspects it is advocating for in a clear and precise way. This is to help avoid contradictions an inability to establish ethics in such postulations. Despite this collective inclusion of people who are an important part of a process is significant. This is because it promotes the sense of ownership and ethical values in the operations of such entities.

References

Hasnas, J 2013, Whither stakeholder theory? A guide for the perplexed Revisited. Journal of Business Ethics, 112, p47-57.

Miles, S 2012, Stakeholder: Essentially contested or just confused? Journal of Business Ethics, Prentice Hall, New York.

Parmar, B, Freeman, R, Harrison, J, Wicks, A &Purnell, 2010, Stakeholder theory: The state of the art. Academy ofManagement Annals, Prentice Hall, New York.

Purnell, L & Freeman, R, 2012, Stakeholder theory, fact/value Dichotomy, and the normative core: How Wall Street stops the ethics Conversation. Journal of Business Ethics, 108, p285-98.

Wempe, B 2008, Understanding the Teparation thesis: Precision after the Decimal point? Business Ethics Quarterly, 18, p549-53.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on Stakeholder Theory and how it affects business. There are many other titles available in the business management and MBA dissertation collection that should be of interest to MBA students and academic professionals. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of business such as strategy, leadership, international business, mergers and acquisitions to name a few. It took a lot of effort to write this post and I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.

Competitive Priorities

Employing Competitive Priorities in Business: The Case of FedEx

The courier industry is one of the most integral parts in the American economy. It is involved in the transportation of a variety of products like drugs, packages, bulk materials and documents to businesses within USA and outside its borders without which the whole economy would come to a standstill. The same day delivery service is also a vital part of the just in time nature of the economy of the US. This multi billion industry has more than seven thousand businesses in it in direct competition with the big four courier firms, (DHL, UPS, FedEx and USPS) and with each other.

In the recent past, competition between FedEx and UPS, two of the largest courier a company, has intensified as their core business increasingly overlap. UPS traditionally dominated the overnight delivery market while FedEx dominated ground delivery. With each moving to its rival opponent’s domain, the need to create competitive priories is even stronger because this is the only way for the companies to retain their businesses and deliver value to their shareholders. FedEx’ relies on technology to drive its competitive strategies and maintain their business operations. FedEx business model is highly dependent on data between the businesses and its customers. FedEx thus invests more than $1 billion each year to maintain its technology and building a wireless infrastructure to relay timely information on possible problems in the delivery route, enhance efficiency and cut business costs. I will use FedEx as a study case to analyse how a business can gain competitive advantage using competitive priorities.

Company Background

FedEx Corporation, NYSE:FDX is a Memphis based logistics services company which offers courier services, logistics solutions. FedEx is one of the largest logistics companies in   the world delivering small packages to the US and to more than 220 companies in the world. FDX Corporation was founded in 1998 after, FedEx Corporation, which had been incorporated the previous year acquired Caliber systems Inc and its subsidiaries  like RPS,  a small package ground transportation company, Roberts Express which offered expedited shipping, Viking Freight, a less than truck load freight courier  and Caliber Technology, provider of logistics and technology solutions (FedEx, 2012).

After this acquisition, FDX started offering other courier services apart from express shipping. FDX, later rebranded as FedEx Corporation was formed to oversee the operation of all the acquired subsidiaries including Federal express, its air division. It also rebranded the subsidiaries to have the FedEx brand in all divisions with federal express being renamed FedEx Express, RPS renamed FedEx ground, and Roberts Express renamed FedEx Custom critical, Caliber Logistics and technology were combined to make up FedEx Global Logistics.

In 2012, the company’s annual revenue was 40 billion which a 13% increase from the revenues was for the previous year. The earnings per share on the other hand for 2011 grew 20%. In the same year, the company increased its fleet of electric and hybrid electric vehicles by 20% to 408 to curb air pollution (FedEx, 2012).

During the first quarter of 2010, the company spent an estimated %4.9 million in campaigns lobbying against the government’s move to sign the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorisation bill which would make it easier for some of its employees to unionise terming it a bailout on UPS, FedEx’s main competitor in the US market (FedEx, 2012). To survive in these kinds of competitive markets, companies have to adopt strategies to survive. Managers can only take advantage of the changes in the wider environment by using appropriate strategies. Effective strategies allow the firms to use their resources for the best outcomes. The next part of the paper looks at what strategy is.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is an outline of how an organisation intends to achieve its goals. The goals of an organisation are the objectives the owners set for the business while the strategy sets out the route to achieve these objectives. In the early years of the businesses, the strategy taken by the business is fairly simple: to survive and achieve growth targets. However, as the firm increases in size, it must select narrower set of strategies referred to as competitive strategies to survive in the face of strong competitors. According to Porter (1996), competitive strategy is about being different. It refers to choosing a different set of activities to deliver the company’s mix of value to the customers. Markides (1999) argues that the essence of developing a strategy for the organisation is to select one strategic position that a company can claim as its own and pursue it. A strategic position represents a company’s answer to the following three questions: who should the company target as its customer? What products/services should the company offer to the target customers? And, how can the company deliver these products efficiently? These three questions help a company to choose a success strategy that is different from that of its competitors (Henry, 2008).

Another view of strategy is that given by Kay (1993). According to Kay (1993), strategy is a match between the organisation’s internal capabilities and the relationship with stakeholders. Strategy is therefore concerned with the firm’s use of analytical techniques to understand and hence influence its position in the market.

Since the environment within which the company operates is constantly changing and the needs of its customers shifting, a company must ensure that its internal resources and capabilities are more than sufficient to meet these needs since companies do not exist to survive but to grow and prosper in the competitive environment (Henry, 2008).

An effective strategy gives a firm three benefits. The first benefit is a strategy as a source of economic gains. Secondly, it provides the firm with a basis for resource allocation. And thirdly, guides the firm’s decisions regarding management and organisation. One main strategy that companies use is the development of consistent set of objectives which are known as Competitive priorities. These priorities are: Cost, Quality, Time and Flexibility.

Competitive Priorities

The first competitive priority that a company can choose is cost leadership. This is a strategy whereby the cost of a given product in a company is relatively low compared to that of competing products from other companies. This strategy does not jeopardize the quality of products. It rather focuses on high profit margin based on competitive price (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). In order to ensure effectiveness of cost as a competitive priority, companies operations should be guided by economies of scale. They should also minimise all other operational costs, which include cost of labour and materials. The employees should also be well trained so as to maximise their productivity.

The second priority is quality. Customers always intend to purchase products which they consider being of high quality. For this reason, companies should ensure that they avail high quality goods and services to customers. Care should be taken in pursuing quality as a competitive priority because there are differences in what customers term as high quality. For instance, there are customers who search for products that possess superior features.

There are two dimensions of quality; namely, high performance design and goods and services consistency (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). High quality design involves the production of goods which address the quality demands of the customers. On the other hand, consistency involves building confidence among clients by ensuring availability of goods and services upon demand.

The third competitive advantage is differentiation as regards to time in delivery speed and reliability. As much as a company pursues production of high quality products, production should not take too long. This is because delays in production and delivery upset customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) outlined two dimensions of effective delivery. These are rapid delivery and on- time delivery. Rapid delivery involves quick reception of customers’ orders while delivery on- time involves high frequency of on-time delivery of goods and services. In order to utilize time as a competitive priority, companies should make use of technology and employ effective work force.

Therefore, in the process of delivery, companies should ensure that deliveries are “in accordance with the promises made to customers”. This is referred to as dependability (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984, p. 24).

Employing Competitive Priorities
Employing Competitive Priorities

The fourth priority is flexibility of product mix and adaptation to changing markets. Competition always leads to change of products in the market by different companies. Therefore, as the market changes and customers’ needs and expectations shift, the company should device ways of accommodating these changes. This should be geared towards winning the confident of customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) categorises flexibility into product and volume flexibility (p. 36). Product flexibility is the ability of the company to offer goods and service that suits the customers’ needs. With this, a product may be dropped out or introduced to the market depending on the market trend. Volume flexibility is the strategy of increasing or decreasing the production of a given product in order to accommodate changes in its demand.

Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) expound aspects of flexibility as the ability to change volume of production, time taken to produce, mix of different products or services produced. Flexibility also involves the ability to innovate and introduce new products and services (p.24).

Flexibility enhances healthy competition as competition is not based on speed of production but customized products. In addition, it helps to reduce competition based on cost. This is so because production of customized products may require extra resources for production. Companies which employ this strategy ensure that its products are varied, and its workers are skilled and competent enough.

Scholars hold divergent views regarding the criteria for utilization of the four competitive priorities. For instance, Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) companies cannot simultaneously succeed when they pursue all the priorities simultaneously. This is because there is the likelihood that such companies have to allow different operators to implement priorities at different times. The resultant lack of coordination leads to inability to achieve objects. The two, therefore, advocate for trade-offs whereby companies pursue one competitive priority to greater levels than the other priorities. On the other hand, there are other scholars who argue that companies can still succeed while pursue the four competitive priorities simultaneously (p. 25). In the next part of the paper, an analysis of FedEx competitive priorities will be done.

FedEx Competitive Priorities

The environment in which FedEx operates is quickly changing due to the financial crisis and globalisation which has resulted into an increase in the number of competitors in the courier business. During the crisis, the quantity of global trade was severely affected which in turn affected the revenues of logistics companies, including FedEx. Although the financial position of the company for last year looked promising, the future is too vague to predict for FedEx. This means that the company must look for ways to strengthen its position in the market. One of the ways that company can do this is by exploiting competitive priorities (Porter, 1998).

The main competitive priority for FedEx is time. In the same day delivery business, delivery on schedule is a vital component in winning customers trust. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, a company can differentiate itself using time as its competitive priority in two ways: First, is through speed delivery speed and secondary through reliability and ability to deliver the goods when promised. Some of the packages that FedEx is in charge of delivering like medical supplies are extremely time sensitive and hence the businesses is always on the lookout for ways to reduce delays in the supply chain to ensure that packages arrive on time. One of the ways that FedEx achieves this is by controlling every part of the delivery chain. The company owns aircrafts, delivery vans and sorting facilities to ensure reliable on time delivery.

As early as 1980 during the initial years of the company, FedEx had a fully integrated system to monitor the location of vans, track packages and communicate with customers to ensure that all packages were picked and delivered on time. In the last few years, the company has been replacing the old wireless system with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular networks, GPS which enables customers to track their packages in real time using their WAP enabled phones and PDAs. In addition to this, the company has over the years build a seamless international and domestic network linked by air and ground delivery channels which ensures that customers needs are well met (Berger, 2011).

The second competitive priority for the company is flexibility. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, flexibility involves the ability to provide a wide range of products or services without delay to meet the needs of the client. The company has always been a leader in adaptation of new technology to better meet the expectations of its clients. For instance, the company was the first to start offering delivery at 10.30 am after identifying a need within the market to have their goods delivered early so that they have enough time during the day to work on them. The company also formed a strategic alliance with U.S. Postal Service to offer its customers more flexibility in drop-off points for their parcels (Porter, 1998).

The third competitive strategy that FedEx pursue is cost leadership. According to Porter (1998), cost leadership is concerned with producing high volumes of standardised products to take advantage of economies of scale. FedEx offers its customers a range of flat rate fees and delivery options to ensure that all customers well satisfied. To reduce costs, FedEx uses technology to gather data and through outsourcing some of its operations such as delivery.

The fourth competitive strategy for FedEx is quality. According to Porter (1998), quality is concerned with excellence in operations, product based quality and value based quality where the organisation offers excellence at an acceptable price. To maintain quality, FedEx trains all its employees the importance of correcting a mistake before it goes further on since the mistake becomes more costly to fix once it is allowed to go on. For instance, sorting goods before shipping helps the company avoid wrong shipping. The company also maintains its quality by offering timely delivery which has earned it more satisfaction among its customers than its rival UPS. Quality at FedEx is also maintained by the use of information technology, such as Wi-Fi and iPhone apps, at every point of its delivery channel which enables the company to gain important information about picking up its customers’ parcels and relying information to the customers about where the package is at every step of delivery. The use of technology helps to communicate with the customers in case of delays to maintain their loyalty.

In conclusion, a company should seek to exploit its competitive priorities to ensure survival in times of competition. Competition is normal in every industry and so is the case in US courier industry in which FedEx operates. In the recent years, intense competition over the US market has increased for FedEx both from its main rival UPS and also smaller courier companies which fill the gaps that larger courier companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL are unable to fill due to their large size. In such competitive markets, a company has to come up with a strategy not only to survive but grow in the face of competition. Formation of a competitive strategy involves matching the internal capabilities of the firm with needs of its stakeholders to tap into the changing needs of the market. One of the best strategies that a firm can use is called competitive priority.

 Competitive priorities that affirm can utilise to gain competitive advantage are cost leadership, flexibility, quality of products and timely delivery. The first competitive priority, cost leadership, is concerned with producing a high volume of standardised products to gain economies of scale. FedEx offers to its customers a wide range of services at acceptable prices due to its large market size which has enabled the company from a distribution network in the US and other countries which allows it to pick and deliver parcels more conveniently and cheaply. It has also reduced its operating cost by use of technology to gather data which is vital in logistics.

The second competitive priority that a firm can utilise is quality. This is concerned with a company attaining excellence in its products and offering these products at a competitive price. One of the ways that FedEx maintains its quality is through the use of IT to ensure that its customer’s packages are delivered on time. Timely delivery is enhanced by its already established efficient delivery channel which allows it to collect and deliver packages as per customer’s demands. The other competitive priority a firm can pursue to gain a competitive advantage is flexibility in the mix of products and in offering new products. FedEx achieves this by observing the changes in demands for customers to offer new services like late night delivery and linking up with online sellers, like Amazon, to provide online shoppers with convenient transport of their shopping. The last competitive priority is timely delivery and reliability which FedEx does by ensuring that customers receive all their packages in time by integrating IT in their delivery system to rely information about possible delays to help take corrective action and help customers track their packages to avoid uncertainty.

Bibliography

Berger, A. (2011). Case Study – FedEx Corporation: Strategic Management. New York: Grin Verlag.

Chard, R., Jacobs, F., & Aquilas, N. J. (2004). Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. New York: McGraw- Hill.

Davis, M. M., Aquilano, N. J., Balakrishnan, J., & Chase, R. B. (2005). Fundamentals of Operations Management. New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

FedEx. (2012). About FedEx. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://about.van.fedex.com/

Hayes, R. H., & Wheelwright, S. C. (1984). Restoring Our Competitive Edge: Competing Through Manufacturing. John Wiley: New York. .

Henry, A. (2008). Understanding Strategic Management. New York: Oxford University Press.

Porter, M. E. (1998). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press.

Click Here To View MBA Dissertation Topics

MBA Dissertation Topics

Where Can I Find MBA Dissertation Topics

Click Here To View MBA Dissertation Topics

I have been asked on my occasions by students on where to find quality MBA dissertation topics. Well, I responded by saying that you can find them in a university library or on the internet on credible websites. Before we go any further on explaining how to find relevant MBA dissertation topics it is vital that we establish what an MBA dissertation is. Firstly, an integral part of any MBA degree is the successful completion of a research dissertation.

In near enough every case, you must complete an MBA dissertation before graduating you cannot elect to sidestep the dissertation requirements of an MBA degree. As you are already aware, an MBA degree is a study into the theory and application of business management principles, often applied to a variety of real world business situations. It would be prudent to base your MBA dissertation topic on the most common components or subject areas of an MBA degree;

  • Accounting
  • Operations Management
  • Business Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Information Technology Management
  • Strategic Risk Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resource Management
  • E-Commerce
  • Economics

We will attempt to highlight areas of interest and typical dissertation titles that MBA students across the globe undertake. One of the most satisfying aspects of writing your own MBA dissertation topic is that you chose your own dissertation title and you have the opportunity to contribute to the field of study you have chosen. Below are some MBA dissertation topics that have been written in their respective field that may help to guide you.

MBA Dissertations
MBA Dissertations

Accounting MBA Dissertation Topics

An MBA Accounting Thesis is not restricted to one major category or subject area. You have the ability to think outside the box and generalize about wider subject matter which falls into the accounting field. You could begin to look at new global accounting principles, account practices across borders, how information technology affects traditional accounting techniques, or base your research on the performance of a specific company while considering a whole host of external factors, the list goes on. Below is a list of accounting based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

An Analysis into the Extent of Financial Leverage within the UK Food and Drink Industry – Identifying Potential Communication Problems between Senior Management and Investors

How does the Banking Sector Influence Economic Growth? A Comparative Analysis of China and India

A Study into the Feasibility and Deployment of the Four-Factor Asset Pricing Model in the UK Stock Market

The Rivalry And Integration Strategies Of Global Stock Exchanges

Implementation of Micro Finance

Operations Management MBA Dissertation Topics

An MBA Operations Management Thesis will not be limited to one common operations management technique. You would have gained enough operations management knowledge during your MBA degree to adequately compose a dissertation in this field. It is tempting to add more knowledge to an existing topic but you should relish the opportunity to contribute something new to the operations management field of study.

You could begin to look at global supply chain management, inventory control, performance management, TQM, statistical process control and quality management within prestigious organisations. The following is a list of operations management themed MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

The Multicultural Project Manager: Exploring Linkages Between National Culture and Conflicting Styles of Management

Performance Measurement Concepts and Practises in a Supply Chain Context. A Study of Intel Corporation

The Impact of TQM on the Service Industry

Inventory Optimization Techniques: A comparative Study of the Inventory Optimization Technique Used by Telecom Retailers

Which Quality Improvement Tool is Best Suited to the Healthcare Industry?

Business Management Dissertation Topics

When undertaking an MBA Business Management Thesis you will discover that the subject is not limited to one particular organisation or management technique. Business management is probably the broadest business subject area out there. Management techniques go back centuries and there has been a lot of academic contribution within this field, but with changes in culture and global management techniques you should have a wealth of information at your disposal in order to adequately compose a dissertation in this subject field.

It is tempting to write about existing management techniques and how they are applied to organisations but you should embrace the opportunity to contribute something new to the business management field of study. You could begin to look at global management techniques (challenges and opportunities), business performance and evolving management techniques within prestigious organisations or profitability challenges faced by organisations, the list goes on. The following is a list of management theory based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

The Impact and Influence of Organisational Culture on Innovation Management

An Empirical Investigation into the Impact of Leadership on Organisational Performance

A Review into Project Theoretical Concepts and Models in Regards to the Management of Change and Conflict

To What Extent Do Environmental Issues Affect Business Performance?

The Influence Of Culture On Negotiations In The Context Of International Business

Finance MBA Dissertation Topics

Writing an MBA Finance Dissertation is an exciting prospect to say the least, there is so much happening within the field of finance and you will have the opportunity to write a remarkable dissertation in this field. Finance is probably one of the most talked about subjects out there at the moment. Finance is becoming a global phenomenon and changes on a daily basis with the influence of stock exchanges and governments.

It is safe to say that you will have a plethora of information at your disposal when compiling your dissertation in this subject field. For an insight you could begin to look at global finance techniques, financial performance of global organisations, global money markets, and financial comparisons of countries, the list goes on and on. The following is a list of finance related MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

External Finance and Firm Performance, Evidence From China

An Analysis and Evaluation of Investment Strategies

The Future Of Secularization, Is Secularization History? Its Impact And Influence On The Banking Sector

An Analysis into the Effectiveness of Margin Financing. A UK Based Exploratory Study

The Impact Of Asset Allocation Between Stocks And Bonds On The Portfolio Performance

Marketing MBA Dissertation Topics

Similar to business management, the field of marketing is a very common research preference for MBA Students. Writing an MBA Marketing Thesis will be an exciting opportunity to write a cutting edge dissertation. The field of marketing is often seen to cross over into other fields of study but you can remain on topic and base your dissertation purely on marketing theories and techniques.

The marketing discipline is wide and varied and you can start to look at relationship marketing, advertising, branding, cross-culture marketing, direct marketing, consumer behavior, online marketing and marketing ethics. The following is a list of marketing based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates in 2014 / 2015;

The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behavior

Brand Design and its Effects on Consumer Purchasing

An Investigation into the Effects of E-Marketing and Online Animated Advertising on Consumer Buying Behavior

Impact of Online Marketing on Small Organisations

Creative Advertising versus Direct Marketing

Technology Management MBA Dissertation Topics

Constructing an MBA Technology Management thesis on technology management can be a demanding task due to the fact that information technology changes at such a rapid rate. Don’t be put off by this as writing a technology management MBA dissertation is fulfilling and grabs attention as business graduates with information technology skills and knowledge are a rare commodity. Be sure to write your dissertation on up to date technologies and organisations, it is not advisable to investigate outdated research or defunct organisations in this field.

Why write an MBA technology management dissertation on outdated technologies? You should look into cutting edge research fields such as nanotechnology, IT outsourcing, global IT Infrastructure, ERP systems, VoIP technology, e-learning and key IT mergers and acquisitions. Try to relate you research to the business management field and try to avoid writing a scientific dissertation that would detract from you MBA degree. The following is a list of information technology based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping Solution For Job Task Management

Strategic Information System Planning In Investment Banks

Comparative Analysis Into India and China as IT Outsourcing Destinations

An Investigation on How Innovative Companies Gain a Competitive Advantage through Effective Management of Technology

The Software Project Manager’s Conflict. To Allow, Or Not Allow Change

Strategic Risk Management MBA Dissertation Topics

Basing you MBA Thesis on strategic risk management suggests that you are writing a piece of research that would help organisations to reduce exposure to risk or adverse trading conditions. It is safe to say that strategic risk management will be rigorously covered in the MBA degree and you will have built up a significant amount of knowledge relating to this field, you should be able to apply the knowledge and techniques gained into an MBA dissertation.

You could look at the volatility of global stock exchanges, social risk in global organisations, risk management in derivative markets, risk management within the supply chain and risk factors affecting shareholder value. This list goes on. The following is a list of Strategic Risk MBA Dissertation Topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

Managing Supply Chain Vulnerability. Lessons in Addressing Variability and Discontinuity Risks from the Personal Computer Industry

An Analysis into How Correctly Implemented Systems and Procedures Reduce the Risk Associated with New Product Development

A Comparative Analysis Of Environmental Risk Disclosure In German And UK Companies

An Assessment of Risk Management in Banking

An Examination into the Benefits of Risk Management on Investments and Portfolio Assets

Entrepreneurship Dissertation Topics

Developing an MBA thesis on entrepreneurship is a very interesting proposition for any MBA student. Entrepreneurship has a lot of exposure on most MBA taught degrees and many successful entrepreneurs hold an MBA, it is common knowledge that an MBA and entrepreneurs sit side by side in the business world.

For inspiration you could look at competitiveness of nations, investigate business enterprise, outsourcing, or ask whether entrepreneurs born or made? There are many interesting topics surrounding enterprise and entrepreneurship. The following is a list of Entrepreneurship based MBA Dissertation Topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

Are Entrepreneurs Born Or Are They Made?

Analysis into Global Offshoring and Outsourcing Activities – A Measurement of National Competitiveness

A Study into Competitive Strategies Adopted by Companies to Mitigate the Effects of Recession

An Investigation into Existing Global Outsourcing Trends

An Analysis into the Impact of Knowledge Management on Strategic Planning

Human Resource Management Dissertation Topics

Writing an MBA HRM Thesis is not restricted to one organisation or technique, HRM has become a global phenomenon due to cross boarder training practices, worker migration and organisations trading on a global scale. If you need a starting point for your HRM dissertation you can look at global recruitment trends, staff motivation within organisations, analyse staff retention techniques and staff training and engagement. There is so much to explore within the field of HRM. The following is a list of HRM based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

Impact of Employee Empowerment to Enhance Job Satisfaction within Vodafone UK

Can Flexible Working Act as Employee Recruitment and Retention Tool? A Study of NHS Direct

Impact of Employee Turnover on Organisational Profitability

An Investigation into Employee Retention and Commitment through the Deployment of Best HR Practice

The Role Played by Human Resource Management in Business Growth. A Study of Tesco

E-Commerce Dissertation Topics

Similar to technology management, writing an MBA E-Commerce Thesis can be a tricky proposition due to the fact that electronic commerce changes on a daily basis. This includes stocks, shares and any organisation that trade online. Be sure to write your dissertation on up to date methods and organisations, it is not advisable to investigate outdated research or defunct organisations as e-commerce has come a long way in a short period of time.

Writing an e-commerce MBA dissertation on eBay or Amazon is old hat and uninspiring to a large extent. If you need inspiration for your e-commerce dissertation you can look at security risks and threats to organisations, the emergence and impact of online shopping, e-commerce strategies and business process re-engineering. The following is a list of e-commerce themed MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

Design, Develop and Implement An E-Commerce Solution

An Analysis into E-Commerce and Network Security Concerns for SME Sized Organisation

Monitoring Data On The Internet

Analysis into Data Management in E-Governance Systems

An Investigation and Analysis into Website Features That Maintain Consumer Trust for E-Shopping

Economics Dissertation Topics

When writing your MBA Economics Thesis you will discover that the subject is not confined to a particular economics theory or technique. We are all exposed to economic conditions these range from domestic to global factors all of which make a firm foundation to base you economics dissertation on. Business economics is such an encompassing subject and there are many areas to investigate, you could start to look at global economic trends, hyperinflation, macroeconomics, economic policy, influence of the IMF and economic development. Below is a list of economics based MBA dissertation topics that have been written by successful MBA graduates;

An Assessment into the Importance of Economic Integration for Developed Economies

Empirical Tests of Consumption based Asset Pricing Models

Analysis Into The Relationship Between Stock Price And Market Efficiencies

Analysis Into Macroeconomic Factors Affecting Exchange Rates

An Investigation into the Extent and Impact of Economic Growth in Reducing Poverty in Ghana and Uganda

MBA Dissertation Topics
MBA Dissertation Topics

How MBA Dissertation Examples Can Help You

As you can see, there are a lot of possible MBA dissertation topics for you to choose from, and we have pointed you in the direction of quality pre-written MBA dissertation topics. The material is to be used to structure your own MBA dissertation we do not encourage you to copy or plagiarize any reference material you encounter during your studies. Hopefully, we have given you a positive insight on how to begin and research your own MBA dissertation topic. Good luck and all the best!

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