Management and Leadership Development Needs: The Case of South Africa

  • M. Anastacia MamaboloEmail author


The volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions in the business environment bring about challenges when it comes to managing organizations, as managers have to find new ways of maintaining profitability despite said conditions. Management schools can play a significant role of providing relevant educational content to deal with the challenges that organizations are facing. Therefore, this study investigated the current and future management challenges and developmental needs in South Africa. A small-scale empirical research using interviews with 13 executives was conducted to get an in-depth understanding of the challenges and developmental needs. The findings showed that the main challenges for organizations are developing agility, building internal capabilities, improving innovation and remaining profitable by focusing on the basics of business. In order to achieve that, companies need to develop soft skills, strategic foresight and acquire a transdisciplinary approach to management. Regarding the future, organizations will be faced with uncertainty, digitalization, innovation, a globalized workforce and demand for specialized skills. This study makes recommendations to both business schools and businesses.


  1. Bennett, N., & Lemoine, G. J. (2014). What a difference a word makes: Understanding threats to performance in a VUCA world. Business Horizons, 57(3), 311–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burden, J., & Roodt, G. (2007). Grounded theory and its application in a recent study on organisational redesign: Some reflections and guidelines. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 5(3), 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, W. M., & Dolle, J. R. (2011). Rethinking undergraduate business education: Liberal learning for the profession. A report by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. California: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Cronje, M. (2016, September 19). Blade Nzimande says fees can go up, but not beyond 8%. Mail & Guardian. Retrieved from
  5. Denning, S. (2016). How to make the whole organization “Agile”. Strategy & Leadership, 44(4), 10–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dyllick, T. (2015). Responsible management education for a sustainable world: The challenges for business schools. The Journal of Management Development, 34(1), 16–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Financial Times. (2017). Rankings: Executive education – Customised – 2017. Retrieved from
  8. George, G., Corbishley, C., Khayesi, J. N., Haas, M. R., & Tihanyi, L. (2016). Bringing Africa in: Promising directions for management research. The Academy of Management Journal, 59(2), 377–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grosskopf, J., Beyers, S., van Velden, L., Roopnarain, R., & Stonebridge, D. (2015). Growing in turbulent times – Major banks analysis: South Africa. Bloemfontein: PricewaterhouseCoopers. Retrieved from Google Scholar
  10. Hanif, N., & Arshed, N. (2016). Relationship between school education and economic growth: SAARC countries. International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, 6(1), 294–300.Google Scholar
  11. Holmberg, R., Larsson, M., & Bäckström, M. (2016). Developing leadership skills and resilience in turbulent times: A quasi-experimental evaluation study. The Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 154–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Joffe, H. (2017, April 7). Fitch downgrades South Africa to junk status. Business Day. Retrieved from
  13. Kaseeram, I., & Mahadea, D. (2017). Marginal employment growth effects in the south African economy. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 16(2), 143–156.Google Scholar
  14. le Cordeur, M. (2017, April 6). S&P downgrades SA to junk status. Fin 24. Retrieved from
  15. Lilley, K., Barker, M., & Harris, N. (2014). Educating global citizens in business schools. Journal of International Education in Business, 7(1), 72–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lingelbach, D., Sriram, V., Mersha, T., & Saffu, K. (2015). The innovation process in emerging economies: An effectuation perspective. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 16(1), 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Luescher, T. M., & Klemenčič, M. (2017). Student power in twenty-first century Africa: The character and role of student organizing (pp. 113–127). International Perspectives: Student Politics and Protests.Google Scholar
  18. Mahlaka, R. (2014, February 6). Record high MBA enrolments at SA business schools. Retrieved from
  19. Mitroff, I. I., Alpaslan, C. M., & O’Connor, E. S. (2015). Reflections: What’s wrong with business schools and why they need to change. Journal of Change Management, 15(2), 85–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Muff, K. (2013). Developing globally responsible leaders in business schools: A vision and transformational practice for the journey ahead. The Journal of Management Development, 32(5), 487–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. National Planning Commission. (2011). National development plan: Vision for 2030. Cape Town: National Planning Commission.Google Scholar
  22. Pillay, S. (2016). Silence is violence: (critical) psychology in the era of Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall. South African Journal of Psychology, 46(2), 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rayment, J., & Smith, J. (2013). The current and future role of business schools. Education and Training, 55(4/5), 478–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Richtnér, A., & Löfsten, H. (2014). Managing in turbulence: How the capacity for resilience influences creativity. R&D Management, 44(2), 137–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Statistics South Africa. (2016). Quarterly labour force survey, quarter 4: 2016. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.Google Scholar
  26. Sullivan, R. S. (2011). Business schools and the innovation conundrum. The Journal of Management Development, 30(5), 492–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Transparency International. (2017). Corruption perceptions index 2016. Berlin: Transparency International.Google Scholar
  28. van de Bunt-Kokhuis, S., & Weir, D. (2013). Serving culturally diverse e-learners in business schools. Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, 7(1), 17–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. van Onselen, G. (2017, March 31). Zuma’s 11 Cabinet reshuffles: All the graphic details. Business Day. Retrieved from
  30. World Economic Forum & Harvard University. (2016). The global competitiveness report 2016–2017. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gordon Institute of Business ScienceUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations