MNM3MRCSA-Management Research Challenge – South Africa

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 60 [30 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Lynn Thurloway

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The Management Research Challenge (MRC) is a major project that offers students the opportunity to demonstrate practical business research skills in identifying a significant organisational issue, problem, opportunity or gap in management knowledge, design an appropriate data collection and analysis process,  and present supported recommendations for practice or contribution to knowledge.  


  • Develop knowledge and understanding of key research skills for a management-based investigation 

  • Prepare, implement and evaluate an appropriate research process that investigates a relevant business issue, management question or gap in knowledge  

  • Demonstrate awareness of appropriate use of methodology, theory, data, and critical use of literature 

  • Undertake a piece of original research in management and present findings and recommendations in line with the type of project chosen 

  • Integrate and consolidate learning from relevant MBA subject areas and apply this to a real business problem or gap in knowledge 



Outline Content and Structure for the Management Research Challenge  

Stage 1Introduction to Business Research 

Fundamental research skills are introduced through a number of half day workshops covering topics including what is research and business research, using literature and plagiarism.  The aim is to facilitate understanding of fundamental activities related to research to enable students to have core skills when they commence MRC Research Skills 1.  The workshops will be offered face to face with students being able to access to videos of the teaching if they cannot attend.  The inputs at this stage also gives an introduction to the students to commence both individual and online syndicate work around critical stages of the research process which is at the heart of the module for both options. 

Stage 2 MRC Research Skills 1 


Preparation for the management challenge continues in the second stage of the programme. Delivery in stage two is blended learning comprising of both self-study with learning material and a workshop. Students will get to know a range of evidence-based management sources that will help them formulate a problem and focused question and conduct an evidence-based investigation.  

The objectives in this stage are to: 

  • Introduce the investigation process as a foundation for the Management Research Challenge; 

  • Consider the value of evidence for management, learning and research; 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to gather evidence from current thinking; 

  • Identify, define and scope a significant problem or issue and focused question that can be addressed through structured and rigorous investigation; 


Stage 3 MRC Research Skills 2 


Stage 3 applies learning from the previous stages in order to develop and undertake an investigation. Delivery in this stage comprises mainly independent study, submission of a project proposal and workshops and clinics. Once a proposal is submitted, students are allocated a supervisor who will give academic support on a formative basis through to formal submission.  Prior to submitting their proposal, students are offered a half day workshop on proposal writing and general approaches for writing up student research. 


The objectives in this stage are to: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of rele

Assessable learning outcomes:


Students will demonstrate mastery by: 


  • justifying research techniques and research process in undertaking the investigation, analysis and reporting of the outcomes; 


  • being critical, evaluative and reflective in respect of applying knowledge and understanding gained within the overall programme;  ;


  • conducting personal research around the topic, including the use of wider reading in terms of appropriate theory and appropriate practitioner/commercial literature; 


  • collecting and using evidence (from reading and fieldwork) to support the investigation, analysis and conclusions in a critical and eva luative manner; 


  • reflecting on the research process and personal learning objectives. 



Brief description of teaching and learning methods: 


Summative assessment is through the formal submission of a 15,000 word report which includes discussion of the topic, analysis, conclusion and recommendations and personal reflection. Students may choose between two types of Management Research Challenge: 


  1. Applied Project option: 


This takes an applied, problem solving approach which considers issues within business and management in an integrated way. The re search question in an applied project will be driven by a real topic, issue, problem or phenomenon within an organisation or an industry. It recognises that problems and opportunities in practice have multiple drivers and factors that influence the way they both manifest and impact. Wider reading of relevant theory and practitioner literature offers an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding from different perspectives around the problem or opportunity and support overall analysis of fieldwork data in order to make informed decisions and recommendations. 

Additional outcomes:


Students will demonstrate mastery through: 

  • integrating the investigation through the appropriate selection subject perspectives and current thinking in industry and management/practice;  

  • presenting and justifying informed and effective decisions and recommendations based on the research; 


  1. The Dissertation option  


This gives students the opportunity to develop an investigation which is more academic. It is a theory driven approach which will require students to demonstrate that they can define the topic clearly in order to develop a deep analysis of related theory and academic literature in order to build arguments and justification for the research question through the engagement with the literature. Typically, the outcomes from an analysis of the literature are used to form a foundation for their empirical research in an appropriate business or management setting. Recommendations in a dissertation are also intended to be practical and relevant to management practice but are made in terms of a contribution to knowledge. 


Additional learning outcomes (dissertation)  

Students will demonstrate mastery through: 

  • critical reviewing the current academic thinking that informs and underpins the choice of topic, the empirical investigation and the analysis. 

  • presenting conclusions and recommendations that are grounded in the theory and appropriate evidence from the fieldwork. 

  • Reflection of learning from engagement with the theory as well as the practice of the MRC. 



Both the applied project option and the dissertation option are undertaken on an individual basis. 

Outline content:

Students will be provided with core materials, workshops, clinics and a learning guide on canvas that are available to all executive flexible masters students on this programme in stages 2 and 3.   


Additionally, students will have a number of support workshops and online individual and group activities to in all three stages aimed at supporting key activities in the research process.&nb sp;


In stage three, on submission of a proposal, they will be assigned a supervisor who will give them academic support them on a one to one basis in terms of further development of their proposal, the project and the writing up process. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16 8 20
Project Supervision 30
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 5 20 60
    Wider reading (directed) 5
    Peer assisted learning 4
    Advance preparation for classes 10 6
    Other 10 25 85
    Preparation for presentations 10
    Group study tasks 5 6
    Carry-out research project 150
    Dissertation writing 115
    Reflection 5 5
Total hours by term 70 70 460
Total hours for module 600

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


In line with HEQCSA requirements, summative assessment for South Africa students comprises an individual MRC (dissertation or IBP) only. 


Summative assessment comprises final project of 15,000 words for individual applied project or dissertation.  The submission date will be determined by each individual programme schedule as there are multiple points for submission. 

Formative assessment methods:

The proposal is formatively assessed and is a pass /resubmit format.  Formative assessment is undertaken during the development of the project in the form of responses to questions, and key check-in points with the supervisor when the student receives feedback from the supervisor on MRC chapters.  


Penalties for late submission:


These are in accordance with the mode of study arrangements laid out in the Programme Specification.  

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: 

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A minimum mark of 50%

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of the Management Research Challenge normally within six months of ratified decision. Students only have the right to be reassessed once and in line with normal practice the resit mark will be capped at 50% if they are successful. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 13 May 2021


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