The Global Lead Programme

Birdwell, Kent N. (2006-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.


This study project sets out to examine the validity of an idea - an idea to create a study-abroad programme complemented by combining studies with mission work for Christian university undergraduates. In support of this idea, this study researches the overwhelming arguments that would validate the programme. The study then looks into how the programme can be designed and what its desired focus should be. In this study, the author first examines the prominent external forces that justify the programmes' needs. Two prominent forces include the lack of valued, quality leadership roles in today's business community, as well as the coming of a more integrated world where business managers must gain the skills to transact beyond borders. These two forces become the focal point of the education component, while the last external issue examined explores the business mission possibilities for southern Africa. The study then delves to understand how business schools are adapting to the issues of teaching leadership skills and the ability to transact beyond borders. The author finds that even though many schools have responded by adding soft skill courses such as leadership or internationalising their student bodies and curricula, many organisations are still reporting the lack of quality global leaders. With this, many organisations are creating Corporate Universities where they themselves educate their employees through the use of Action Based Learning (ABL). The author thus believes this ABL concept is a most effective tool in not only training for specific functions of business, but also in tacitly improving the soft skills of business management, which is becoming important for today's global leaders. Knowing these external and internal issues, the author studies the potential of such a programme by analysing a Christian university's existing curriculum and ABL missions structure, and then meets with prospective students, deans, professors, and administrators who may desire a programme that combines study abroad with mission work. The findings suggest that the focus of the programme narrow in on global based leadership education complemented with the use of Action Based Learning in the missions field to promote multidisciplined business missions. However, designing this Global Leadership Programme will require a model from which to begin. The author chose the Value Chain concept; however, Porter's (1985) Value Chain concept was thought to be too onerous for developing this short-term programme. The author then describes and illustrates the use of Sviokla and Rayport's Virtual Value Chain model (1994) and chose to use this model in designing the programme. As a result, the subsequent Chapters first establish direction by suggesting vision and mission statements and the Global Lead Programme objectives, and then research the content (what is offered) and context (how the content is offered) components of the model. In the end, the author concludes the study by offering insight into infrastructure (the enabler) considerations and options to enable the Global Lead Programme to grow and succeed.

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