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Management Dissertation Topics

Management Dissertation Topics

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Example management dissertation topic 1:

A comparison of the efficacy of customer loyalty programmes: The Tesco Clubcard and the Waterstones Card

As respective market leaders within the UK supermarket and high street book buying sectors, Tescos and Waterstones occupy dominant positions. Moreover, both stores operate a customer loyalty card. Grounded in theories of consumer choice and decision making, this dissertation compares and contrasts the loyalty programmes offered by the two firms and through so doing makes recommendations for the on-going success of both. Academic theory is balanced in this essay through the attainment of first hand interviews with customers, staff and loyalty card managers to garner the reader with a full understanding of the role that such cars play in the contemporary high street.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Clark, R. (1997) ‘Looking after business: linking existing customers to profitability', Managing Service Quality, Vol. 7(3), pp.146-149.
  • Hart, C., Doherty, N. and Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2000) ‘Retailer adoption of the Internet - Implications for retail marketing', European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34(8), pp. 954-974.
  • Turner, J.J. and Wilson, K. (2006) ‘Grocery loyalty: Tesco Clubcard and its impact on loyalty', British Food Journal, Vol. 108(11), pp.958-964.
  • Wright, C. and  Sparks, L. (1999) ‘Loyalty saturation in retailing: Exploring the end of retail loyalty cards?' International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 27(10), pp.429 - 440.

Example management dissertation topic 2:

Entrepreneurial management in family-owned businesses: An examination of strategies in Northern India

Family-owned businesses remain a vital part of the commercial environment in Northern India. This dissertation considers how entrepreneurship works in such businesses, which have a strongly traditional background but which continue to develop new management strategies to compete in an increasingly global market-place. The study not only undertakes a comprehensive literature review of entrepreneurship in family-owned businesses in similarly traditionalist cultures, but also provides primary research through the examination of three companies in Northern India. This takes the form of intensive interviews and examination of the progress of new ideas within the firms, from the perspectives of those proposing initiatives, to those expected to approve or implement them.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Altindag, E., Zehir, C. and Acar, A.Z. (2011) ‘Learning, entrepreneurship and innovation orientations in Turkish family-owned firms', Emerging Markets Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 36-47.
  • Mehta, A. (2011) ‘Rural entrepreneurship: A conceptual understanding with special reference to small business in rural India', Elixir Marketing, Vol. 36, pp. 3587-3591.

Example management dissertation topic 3:

Harnessing the entrepreneur in middle management - a story of employee retention

The retention of middle managers is an on-going dilemma within business. This dissertation looks at the phenomenon with regard to two independent department stores: Jarrolds of Norwich and Fenwicks of Newcastle. Using HR theories as well as those of business and management in general this dissertation looks at the dilemmas faced within medium sized firms at retaining middle management and how there is a difficulty in giving them sufficient room to grow in their existing jobs without making them ‘too attractive' to rival firms who wish to head-hunt. A dissertation that combines primary and secondary research, it gives a unique insight into life within not only two of the country's most beloved regional department stores but also provides a number of recommendations that could be applied to the sector as a whole across the country.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • King, A.W., Fowler, S.W. and Zeithaml, C.P. (2001) ‘Managing organizational competencies for competitive advantage: The middle-management edge', The Academy of Management Executives, Vol. 15, (2), pp. 95-106.
  • Turnbull, P. and Wass, V. (1998), ‘Marxist management: Sophisticated human relations in a high street retail store', Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 29, pp. 98-111.

Example management dissertation topic 4:

Organisational behaviour in mining management in South Africa: 2000-2010

Mining companies continue to be a strategic component of the South African economy, yet little has been written about their management practices, particularly since the fall of apartheid. This study seeks to determine optimal management practices in the industry, with a particular emphasis on successful organisational behaviour systems. In conducting a literature review that chiefly focuses on the achievements in other countries, this thesis seeks to apply the lessons learnt elsewhere to management structures in South Africa. Further, it monitors the imposition of new and different practices in one mining company listed on the Junior Mining and Exploration Index, and charts the relative success of the measures introduced.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Mangaliso, M. (2011) ‘Building competitive advantage from Ubuntu: Management lessons from South Africa', Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 15(3), pp. 23-33.
  • Sanda, M.A. (2011) Towards the integration of technological, organizational and human subsystems of organizations to enhance productivity. 2011 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, 6-9 December 2011, Singapore.

Example management dissertation topic 5:

Promotion or flattery - the use of titles as rewards in a time of fiscal restraint

Working upon the hypothesis that wages are not enough, this dissertation investigates the growing trend of title-inflation within the world of work. Given the wide potential focus of this dissertation it has been decided to narrow the sectoral investigation of this dissertation to three supermarkets in the UK. In so doing qualitative and quantitative research is used not only to provide a framework of transferrable titles but also so as to provide a base-line definition of what job titles means across competing chains. Thereafter interviews with staff, HR and the shopping public results in perceptions of value being attached to the titles given.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Appelbaum, S.H. and  Kamal, R. (2000) ‘An analysis of the utilization and effectiveness of non-financial incentives in small business', Journal of Management Development, Vol. 19(9), pp.733-763.
  • Deegan, C. (1997) ‘Efficient management remuneration plan design: A consideration of specific human capital investments', Accounting & Finance, Vol. 37, pp. 1-40.
  • Pettigrew, A.M. (1992), ‘On studying managerial elites', Strategic Management. Journal, Vol.13, pp. 163-182.
  • Shepherd, D.A. and DeTienne, D.R. (2005), ‘Prior knowledge, potential financial reward, and opportunity identification', Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 29, pp. 91-112.

Example management dissertation topic 6:

Stakeholder involvement in the management of charitable institutions employing fewer than 100 staff

The charity sector in the UK is comprised of over 170,000 organisations, of differing sizes. The Coalition Government's promotion of the ‘Big Society' encourages increased involvement in charitable institutions. This dissertation considers the effects of widening stakeholder involvement in charities, for example through the placement of representatives from beneficiary groups on management teams, and examines whether this is a force for good. Possible repercussions could include increased polarisation between those ‘who know best' and those ‘who know how it feels', the insertion of insufficiently trained and educates management within key positions, and a greater understanding of where the distribution of charitable funds could make the greatest difference. Using a mix of primary and secondary research, the dissertation includes a model of both types of charity management - one with significant stakeholder involvement in management, and one without, and compares the two.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brammer, S. and Millington, A. (2004) ‘The development of corporate charitable contributions in the UK: A stakeholder analysis', Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 41(8), pp. 1411-1434.
  • Hyndman, N. and McDonnell, P. (2009) ‘Governance and charities: An exploration of key themes and the development of a research agenda', Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 81(1), pages 14-25.

Example management dissertation topic 7:

Models of management change in the ‘bed and breakfast' hospitality sector in the UK

The ‘bed and breakfast' sector in the UK is divergent. In terms of geography, the market in busy seaside towns is very different to that of the rural farmhouse. In a similar manner, the difference between those ‘B&Bs' that see themselves as part of the boutique hotel sector is very different to those that are literally an extension of family life in the guise of two spare rooms offering bed and board. Using a mixed method research approach this dissertation looks at six bed and breakfasts; two in Brighton, two in Keswick, and two in Uttoxeter. Through this choice of venue not only are divergent markets noted but also the different echelons of the hotels themselves. This is a dissertation that through its recommendations has the potential to be of use to all small time hoteliers within the UK as well as offering a snapshot of bed and breakfast Britain in the summer of the Queen's Jubilee.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Ingram, H. (1996) ‘Classification and grading of smaller hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast accommodation', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 8 (5), pp.30 - 34.
  • Lockyer, T. (2002) ‘Business guests' accommodation selection: The view from both sides', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 14 (6), pp.294 - 300.
  • Lynch, P.A. (1994) ‘Demand for training by bed and breakfast operators', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 6 (4), pp. 25 - 31.

Example management dissertation topic 8:

The head teacher who has not taught for a decade: Maintaining empathy and approachability in secondary school senior management

At the centre of senior management within schools there lies a paradox - the more experienced one becomes and the higher into management one progresses, the less one teaches (the reason for the appointment in the first place). This dissertation looks at two secondary schools: one in Sunderland, the other in Stoke on Trent. In so doing it notes how, over the last twenty years the job of headmaster has changed from being one of small-time CEO, supplemented and supported by not one but three deputy heads and in which life is spent anywhere but ‘at the chalk face'. Through its use of qualitative and quantitative research this dissertation asks the extent to which it is now more appropriate to consider the appointment of ‘school managers' rather than head teachers and what the likely effect of such a move would have within a profession that is, historically, resistant to change within its working practices.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Evans, L. (1998) ‘The effects of senior management teams on teacher morale and job satisfaction: A case study of Rockville County Primary School', Educational Management Administration Leadership, Vol. 26(4), pp. 417-428.
  • Wallace, M. (2002) ‘Modelling distributed leadership and management effectiveness: Primary school senior management teams in England and Wales', School Effectiveness and School Improvement: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 13(2), pp. 163-186.

Example management dissertation topic 9:

Customer relationship management systems in banking: A comparative case study of Leeds Building Society and Lloyds TSB

Looking at two distinctively different players upon the UK high street this dissertation looks at the regional building society, the Leeds Building Society and the (now state owned) Lloyds TSB banking group which ran into financial troubles after it was itself requested by the government to ‘takeover' the ailing Halifax group. Using a range of qualitative research tools, street interviews, survey questionnaires and question and answer sessions with a focus group of students, this dissertation evaluates the changing dynamics of customer care and customer management within the UK high street banking sector. In a time when bank branches are once again closing and the use of the internet ever-increasing it offers a number of salient comments as to how to keep customers happy whilst adapting to the changing realities of how we do our banking.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Mukerjee, A. and Nath, P. (2003) ‘A model of trust in online relationship banking', International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 21(1), pp. 5-15.
  • Peppard, J. (2000) ‘Customer relationship management (CRM) in financial services', European Management Journal, Vol. 18(3), pp. 312-327.

Example management dissertation topic 10:

Sibling partnership: Strategies for managing different work patterns harmoniously

Sibling relationships can be difficult to manage within ordinary family structures; the added dynamics of a family-owned business can create intense relationships that are not always harmonious. This dissertation looks at successful sibling partnerships in several industries - an estate agency, a manufacturing company, and a nursing home - and determines the factors that build harmony. Secondary research is undertaken in the form of an extensive literature review, and primary research is done in the form of interviews conducted not only with both the siblings in the three partnerships mentioned but amongst employees tasked with following sometimes contradictory orders from siblings.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Ensley, M. D. and Pearson, A. W. (2005) ‘An exploratory comparison of the behavioral dynamics of top management teams in family and nonfamily new ventures: Cohesion, conflict, potency, and consensus'. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 29, pp. 267-284.
  • Lambrecht, J. and Lievens, J. (2008) ‘Pruning the family tree: An unexplored path to family business continuity and family harmony', Family Business Review, Vol. 21(4), pp. 295-313.

Example management dissertation topic 11:

Managing creative deviance without compromising respect for authority

Innovation by employees other than in senior management can create problems by demonstrating a loss of leadership authority; conversely, the failure to adopt advantageous initiatives can be detrimental to the firm. This dissertation considers ways to manage creative deviance constructively without the loss of authority. Utilising current literature, the study explores reactions to punishment of creative deviance, middle management reaction and over-reaction towards employees in such incidents, and successful examples of permitted deviance in a variety of case studies. Further, it considers corporate environments where such creative deviance is tolerated or positioned within the corporate structure, such as technology firms.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Mainemelis, C. (2010) ‘Stealing fire: Creative deviance in the evolution of new ideas', Academy of Management Review, Vol. 35(4), pp. 558-578.
  • Nemeth, C.J. and Nemeth, L. () ‘Understanding the creative process: Management of the knowledge worker', in, Nonaka, I. and Teece, D.J. (eds) Managing industrial knowledge: Creation, transfer and utilization. London: SAGE, pp. 91-104.

Example management dissertation topic 12:

An examination of the management of signal failures in the London Underground during the 2012 Olympics

The 2012 Olympics in London will present a significant challenge for the London Underground, as approximately four million visitors are expected over a two week period. Transport for London has released a variety of plans for the management of visitors during the Olympics, but considerable community scepticism remains as to the likely success of those plans. This has been bolstered by incidents such as that on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, when more than 770 passengers were forced to walk through tunnels after problems on the Jubilee Line (each receiving £40 compensation). This dissertation will track the progress of the Underground transport system through news reports during the Olympics, and will evaluate the success of the management plan, comparing it against the success of transport systems for previous Olympic Games in Beijing and Athens.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Frantzeskakis, J. and Frantzeskakis, M. (2006) ‘Athens 2004 Olympic Games: Transportation planning, simulation and traffic management', ITE Journal, Vol. 76(10), pp. 26-32.
  • Olympic Delivery Authority (2012) Transport Plan for the London 2012
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games. London: Olympic Delivery Authority.
  • Su, Y., Lu, L., Yao, D., Zhang, Y., Li, Z., Zhang, Z. and Yangmeng, W. (2009) Transportation demand management for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 2009, 4-7 Oct. 2009, St Louis.

Example management dissertation topic 13:

Facilitating online sports betting among the over-50 age group: A reaction to the continuing viability of small betting shops

The vitality and viability of high street shops and pubs in the UK is a topic currently attracting a considerable degree of interest. As traditional forms of entertainment - such as going to the pub, or placing bets at a betting shop - decline, the gambling industry must extend diversification to all sectors of its market. To date, online sports betting has not made significant inroads to the over-50 male market, in part because of low rates of internet usage in this sector. This dissertation explores the ways that agencies can expand online betting, including the increased use of online betting within high street shops to encourage new habits, in this target age group.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Cockrill, A., Goode, M. and Emberson, D. (2008) ‘Servicescape matters - or does it? The special case of betting shops', Marketing Intelligence & Planning Vol 26(2), pp. 189-206.
  • Jones, P., Hillier, D., Turner, D., and Comfort, D. (2004), ‘Betting on the exchanges: changing customer relationships in the sports betting market in the UK' Management Research News Vol. 27, (1/2), pp. 95 - 103
  • Mok, P., and Hraba, J. (1991) ‘Age and gambling: A declining and shifting pattern of participation' Journal of Gambling Studies Vol. 7, (4), pp. 315 - 335

Example management dissertation topic 14:

Stochastic modelling in fleet management in the container shipping industry

The capital outlay for vessels as well as shipping containers requires that both maximise usage to optimise profit. This dissertation examines how fleet managers can undertake stochastic modelling programmes in order to understand better how to direct fleet resources, including minimising time in port incurring fees. Using logistics simulations, the study evaluates differing levels of uncertainty, the value of maintaining environmental concerns within such modelling, and whether route sharing is indeed viable in a highly competitive market. Finally, the paper offers a variety of strategies which fleet managers can adopt, and makes recommendations pertinent to different global sectors.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Claessens, E. (1987), ‘Optimization procedures in maritime fleet management' Maritime Policy & Management: The Flagship Journal of International Shipping and Port Research, Vol. 14, (1), pp. 27-48.
  • Shen, W. and Khoong, C. (1995) ‘A DSS for empty container distribution planning', Decision Support Systems Vol. 15, (1), pp.75-82.
  • Song, D. and Dong, J. (2008) ‘Empty container management in cyclic shipping routes', Maritime Economics & Logistics Vol. 10, (12), pp. 335-361.

Example management dissertation topic 15:

Abdel-Kader and Wadongo (2011:1) state that ‘performance management practices in [NGOs] lag behind' such practices in other sectors: A critical review of performance management in NGOs in India

Conventionally, ‘non-governmental organisations' (NGOs) are not-for-profit organisations which do not receive the same level of oversight as government authorities. It was estimated that in 2009 India was estimated to have 3.3 million NGOs operating, with varying degrees of monitoring and control. As numerous NGOs receive public funding, whether from charitable institutions, governments or international bodies, the integrity of the financial management is crucial. This dissertation addresses the common deficiencies in NGO management, using models from the UK NGO sector as well as that of Kenya as comparative measures for NGOs elsewhere in the world, with particular emphasis on the reduction of overhead in order to deliver maximum humanitarian aid, as is intended by those which fund such institutions.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Abdel-Kader, M. and Wadongo, B. (2011) ‘Performance management in NGOs: Evidence from Kenya' (Working Paper). Available at:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1909863 [accessed 26 May 2012].
  • Chenhall, R., Hall, M. and Smith, D. (2010) ‘Social capital and management control systems: A study of a non-governmental organization', Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 35(8), pp. 737-756.
  • Moxham, C. (2010) ‘Help or hindrance? Examining the role of performance measurement in UK non-profit organizations', Public Performance & Management Review, Vol. 33(3), pp. 342-354.

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