Top MBA student shares her journey at USB Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
What an honour to be the recipient of the Prof Prieur du Plessis award for the top MBA student.

At the best of times this would have been a wonderful surprise, but under the current circumstances it is an exceptional delight.

That being said, the almost standard response of β€œthis must make it all worth it” made me realise that while I am unequivocally thankful and humbled, the essence of these past two years goes far beyond any award.

What comes to mind when mulling over what truly made the time and effort required by an MBA worthwhile is:

  • Connecting with incredible people from different walks of life, joined by a camaraderie only found by those stuck in the same boat. I reminisce about class debates, group work and informal socials that I would otherwise never have been privy to, offering a wealth of insight into the world, others and myself.
  • The opportunity to travel abroad with my fellow students and having my mind expanded, beyond what I thought possible, by the different economic environments, innovation, cultures and lifestyles that are at play around the world. Being immersed in different environments taught me that everything is a function of your own perception and that the world can take on an infinite number of forms depending on how you choose to look at it.
  • Realising that I work for a company that truly value their people, not only investing in their education, but also providing the support they need to succeed. Thank you, Capitec Bank, for enabling this journey and for setting an example of how employees should be treated.
  • The privilege of studying at USB, a world class institution, which sees the latent potential in Africa and makes a fantastic contribution to growing the strong leaders that this continent so desperately needs. The focus on sustainability opened my eyes to the concept of a rising tide lifting all boats, and that it is a privilege, beyond a responsibility, to be able to contribute to your society.
  • Receiving support and love from those closest to me during times when I was not always able to reciprocate, and realising that no mountain is worth climbing if you end up summiting alone.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, looking back on the person that I was before I embarked on this journey and knowing that I am not that person anymore. Knowing that I have grown through interaction, learning and reflection, and that I have been given the tools to continue on a life long journey of growth and self-actualisation.

Thank you, Prof Prieur du Plessis for this honour, thank you USB for enabling it, and a special thanks to everyone who played a part in making this journey worthwhile. Looking forward to meeting you on the next one!

Read her executive summary of her MBA Research Assignment below:

Interorganisational citizenship behaviour in coopetitive networks – Scale development and validation

An empirical study on the South African Brewing industry

Coopetition refers to the joint presence of cooperation and competition in interorganisational relationships. Participating in coopetitive networks is especially beneficial for small and medium organisations who lack the capacity to thrive independently in the difficult economic environment. Coopetitive networks allow organisations to pool resources and share knowledge enabling them to oppose larger industry players and increase the size of the market in which they jointly participate in. However, due to the threat of opportunistic behaviour in pursuit of economic gain, coopetitive relationships are precarious by nature and difficult to maintain. Thus, in order for organisations to reap the long term benefits of coopetitive relationships, it is useful for them to understand the underlying factors that facilitate and sustain coopetitive networks.

Applying organisational psychology is often useful to explain organisational behaviour beyond pure economic rationale. Organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) is a popular psychological construct used to explain the willingness of employees to go beyond the call of duty for the good of the organisation. This study investigates the extension of this construct to coopetitive networks i.e. interorganisational citizenship behaviour (ICB), to provide insights on how coopetitive relationships are maintained beyond pursuit of financial gain. Despite the wealth of existing literature on OCBs, research on ICB is extremely limited, with only one study proposing dimensions for ICBs based solely on one set of proposed OCBs. Furthermore, the concept of ICBs have previously been applied to purely cooperative networks with no constant underlying instability driven by inherent competition.

This study contributes to research on ICBs and coopetitive networks by proposing a set of dimensions for ICBs within coopetitive networks. This was done by incorporating literature on OCBs, ICBs and coopetition and creating a questionnaire to test for the presence of these dimensions within a coopetitive network. These dimensions were validated by conducting an empirical study within the South African craft brewing industry, chosen due to the observed presence of coopetitive networks within the industry. Key industry players were used for initial validation and refinement of the dimensions and questionnaire, followed by inputs from the wider industry which were incorporated through the distribution of an electronic questionnaire.

Outcomes of the study include confirming the presence of ICBs within the coopetitive networks of the craft brewing industry. This validates the suitedness of using ICBs for insights on how precarious coopetitive relationships are maintained. Furthermore, the study suggests that there are two umbrella dimensions for ICB i.e. help directed at one organisation compared to general positive contribution to the network. From an academic perspective, the study lays the foundation for further research into ICB with the proposal of dimensions and initial questionnaire development, creating a platform for questionnaire refinement and building a useful tool to test for and understand coopetitive networks within different contexts.


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