Management Accounting (Prof. Anet Smit)

Suggested research topics

Venture Capital
Balanced Scorecard

Entrepreneurship (Prof SP van der Merwe)

Be part of an exciting research project
An opportunity exits to analyse family businesses through the proven Fampro Family Business Diagnostic Instrument. The results can be utilised to complete a mini-dissertation. Students who are interested can contact Professor Stephan van der Merwe at the NWU Business School. The areas of research are:


Family businesses

In the last two years, five MBA students achieved their MBA degrees with distinction. Three of them did their mini-dissertation on family businesses. Students are encouraged to utilise a valid and reliable family business diagnostic instrument to conduct their research. Research topics may be:

  • Organisational diagnosis (assessment) of family businesses (standard diagnostic tool available).
  • Management succession in family businesses (planning, leadership development of successors, selection criteria, letting go etc.).
  • Ownership succession (estate planning) in family businesses (the transfer of ownership, retirement planning).
  • Communication and conflict in family businesses (communication forums, family harmony, conflict management).
  • Compensation in family businesses.
  • The management of non-family members in the family business.
  • Entry and exit strategies.
  • Strategic planning (business and/or family) in family businesses.
  • The impact of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) on family businesses.
  • Farming family businesses [various topics – refer to the abovementioned list.]


Entrepreneurship and SMMEs

  • The impact of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) on SMMEs.
  • Entrepreneurial development in Southern Africa (on national basis or in various regions).
  • Corporate entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship/organisational entrepreneurship.
  • The management of SMMEs (various topics).
  • Financing the SMME.
  • The development of business plans (start-ups, expansions, existing business).
  • Franchises (various topics).
  • Co-operatives (various topics).
  • Business alliances.

Corporate entrepreneurship

Are you employed by a corporate organisation? Evaluate the entrepreneurial climate of your organisation by means of an existing entrepreneurial climate questionnaire.


Women entrepreneurship

The 2007 South African GEM Report highlighted the important role that women play in new venture creation and economic growth in South Africa. Get involved in breakthrough research on this topic.


Entrepreneurial development

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in economic growth and wealth creation in South Africa. Scientific-based research on this topic in South Africa, especially in the informal sector, is scant and urgent research is needed on this topic. Your research can help build the GEM database.

Financial Management (Prof Ines Nel)

Within the central theme of value-based management, the following are considered the main legs for research: 1) corporate finance, 2) investment management and 3) public finance.

1) Within the corporate finance leg, the following are considered research areas:

  • Company value and risk management.
  • Company value and strategic investment decisions (capital budgeting).
  • Company value and strategic financing decisions.
  • Company value and working capital management.
  • Company value and wealth management.
  • Company strategy and financial fit.
  • Company value: financial, people and process links.

The above can be done within the context of entrepreneurial, venture capital, small and medium-sized and large businesses for either listed or unlisted companies. The research is not industry or sector limited.

2) Within the investment management leg, the following are considered research areas:

  • Value-based portfolio management within the context of market returns.
  • Stock market efficiency.
  • Portfolio asset selection.
  • Collective investment scheme management (pension fund, unit trust etc.).
  • Personal financial management and behavioural finance.

3) Within the public finance leg, the following are considered research areas:

  • Value-based management strategy and implementation.
  • Value-based public finance management: A dummy profit approach.

Capita Selecta:

A variety of other financial issues; however, I will only be able to judge whether I have the ability to lead the dissertation based on the research proposal. (Examples are credit scoring, derivatives and futures etc.).

Marketing Management (Prof CA Bisschoff)

Research topics for MBA mini-dissertations in marketing management are:


The brand loyalty model by Mr Ahmed Moola (a PhD student) is a rich area for continued research in brand loyalty. The model appears below.

There are basically two avenues to follow:

  • Testing the brand loyalty model on different products, customer bases and industries to determine its validity and applicability within different application settings. This means that the current questionnaire is used and applied on a specifically chosen different application setting (the model was developed within the FMCG industry using toothpaste, bread and coffee as products).
  • Selecting a specific influence of the brand loyalty model and extensively research this influence. For example, conduct an in-depth study on the role of commitment, brand trust or customer satisfaction, for example, and its influence on brand loyalty. This implies that a questionnaire needs to be compiled from the literature research to measure the selected influence and test the validity thereof.


Analyse the red meat industry and determine consumer preferences. Bear in mind that different cultures and market segments have different preferences. You can therefore either focus the research on a specific market segment, or perform a comparative analysis.


Select a specific cattle breed and analyse the market, industry and competitive environment. Identify a competitive advantage for the specific breed of cattle and show how this breed can be marketed successfully.


Focus your research on business ethics and managerial behaviour in this field. Models by myself, Fullerton and Nel exist in attitudinal research. There are also various other avenues and models to use as basis for your study in ethics. Alternatively, you may focus your research on marketing ethics specifically, and analyse the different ethical dilemmas regarding the marketing mixture. You will be surprised how many interesting examples exist of ethical behaviour with regard to everyday products in use.


Use sports marketing as point of departure to research the marketing of products. Consider products being sold by sports marketing (Powerade, branded clothing, etc.), as well as sports products that require marketing (e.g. my beloved Adams golf clubs).