#6 Summer 2016

News Round-up

GSB case study wins prestigious international competition


A teaching case written by a team from the UCT Graduate School of Business on innovative tech start-up, Zoona, has been awarded top spot in the internationally prestigious CEEMAN Emerging Market Case Study Competition. The team consisted of GSB MBA student and Bertha Centre Scholar John Bazley, with co-authors Cynthia Schweer Rayner, senior researcher at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Aunnie Patton Power, Innovative Finance Lead at the Bertha Centre, and Thomas Hellmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

The two-part case focuses on Zoona, a mobile money start-up based in Cape Town but working in several African countries, and charts their journey to raise Series A investment capital to finance their growth. “By far the most difficult aspect [of the case study] was distilling the fascinating and rich story of how Zoona was conceived, its growth and path to investment, into just a few digestible pages. The biggest challenge was finding the core of the story that would resonate with the broadest audience while teaching the specifics of term sheets,” said Bazley.

The case study is set to be used in business schools and academic institutions across the world. “There is a scarcity of teaching materials focused on Innovative Financing in Africa,” said Aunnie Patton Power.

“We hope this material will inspire academics around the world to teach more cases on Africa that reflect the rising tide of entrepreneurship and innovation on the continent as well as the ways in which investors and private capital can participate in this momentum.”

Double take: The GSB secures second consecutive Emerald win


Chris Human, left with supervisor Geoff Bick.
First prize in the 2016 Association of African Business Schools Emerald Case Writing Competition has again been awarded to the GSB for an outstanding submission from 2015 MBA alumnus, Christopher Human, with supervision from Professor Geoff Bick, for a case study on an iconic local ice tea brand, BOS Brands and the challenges of internationalisation.

The competition was launched in March 2015 to encourage the development of Africa-specific case studies, so the primary submission criteria requires cases to be: of high quality; based in Africa; written by a student at an African university; and focused on real-life situations in Africa.

Professor Bick remarks of Human: “He put an excellent case together, well written and illustrated, [and he] understood the requirements for the facilitator to address theoretical issues in the classroom, so these were well covered in the Teaching Note. I hope I will get to supervise more students just like him in the future.”

Human says that he chose to focus on the local BOS brand as much for strategic reasons as personal interest. “BOS provided a neat fit with the teaching objectives I had in mind from the outset, but I’m also a big fan of the brand. I have always believed it had the potential to do well abroad. When I heard that BOS was successfully expanding into Europe, I seized the opportunity.”

The case captures the BOS story in an engaging narrative, grounding the reader in the ‘challenges and choices’ that the BOS team had to navigate while expanding into foreign territory.

Prize-winning article rethinks the nature of institutions

Dr Warren Nilsson

Grace Mugo, accreditation development project manager at AABS.
The GSB’s Dr Warren Nilsson has become the first scholar from a Global South institution to win the prestigious Academy of Management Review’s Best Article Award for 2016 for his startling new research on positive institutional work.

How do some organisations manage to stay strong and healthy for decades in the midst of ever-changing environments? Are there certain patterns – submerged, unnoticed, but nevertheless powerful in their effects – that help to explain why an organisation can thrive despite the fact that the people who work there come and go? Is it possible, somehow, to institutionalise those things that are fundamentally experiential: things like joy, creativity and fulfilment – the positive human experiences that fuel such vibrant and durable organisations? These are some of the questions that motivated Dr Nilsson, senior lecturer at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, to write the article titled Positive Institutional Work: Exploring institutional work through the lens of positive organizational scholarship. The piece is a fascinating theoretical exploration of the central role of human experience in the creation and maintenance of powerful, adaptive and positive organisations.

According to Professor Ralph Hamann, research head at the GSB, winning such a prestigious prize from the highly competitive Academy of Management Review is a big accomplishment, not only for the GSB, but for scholarship in South Africa more generally. Nilsson is only the eighth author from a Global South Institution to publish in AMR out of more than 3 000 authors over 40 years and is the first from the region to win the award.

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