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MBA research on workplace meetings earns top dissertation award

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Research on the effectiveness of workplace meetings and its impact on the quality of service delivery by Professor Marvin Kambuwa was cited as the best MBA research dissertation at MANCOSA’s October (2014) graduation.

Professor Kambuwa was recipient of the Top MBA Research Dissertation Award for his research titled: Understanding Employee Experience of Meetings and the Impact of Employee Meetings on the Quality of Service Delivery: the Case of a Small Private Distance Higher Education Institution in Durban, South Africa.

An interest in understanding participants’ view of the value they add to a meeting and how it contributes to service delivery to students within the higher education institution, prompted Professor Kambuwa’s research study.

Research findings suggest that participants’ opinions that meetings did not inculcate collegiality; didn’t resolve work challenges and didn’t enhance learning relevant to work tasks, should not create the perception that meetings were unproductive. Instead, Professor Kambuwa indicated that the views of participants should be an indicator that attempts should be made to make meetings more productive by selecting the appropriate staff to sit in meetings; staff should be made aware of what meetings would encompass and take the necessary steps to ensure good leadership during meetings.

Research findings allude to “social loafing” in evidence during meetings.  Social loafing is “the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually.”

“My study found that 95% of respondents admitted that they brought other work to do during meetings that they did not consider productive or directly relevant to their work. The fact that their behaviour might have resulted in their expending less effort in the deliberations of the meeting than others may present such behaviour as “social loafing”. However, the respondent’s behaviour appears to be what I have called “compensatory behaviour” in that respondents engage in activities which they deem to be more urgent and productive,” said Professor Kambuwa.

Responding to this academic success, Professor Kambuwa said receiving the award was a humbling experience especially since MANCOSA attracts high calibre students who are known to excel.

Professor Kambuwa attributes his success to God’s grace; the support of his family and his professional interactions with academics and support staff at MANCOSA.

“We often talk about life-long learning. It is almost a cliché that the knowledge we acquire through our learning a couple of years ago is probably obsolete by now. The fact is that this is a reality. The fact is that this is a reality. So, as academics we need to lead by example and learn continuously,” added Professor Kambuwa.

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