DBA Dissertation Topics
- Global Business Politics
- Information Technology Integration
- Business Accountability
- Finance and Accounting
- Social Entrepreneurship
If you choose to become a Doctor in Business Administration, you can count on more career opportunities to move yourself ahead in the business place. While there are many reasons to consider a DBA, such degrees do require a great deal of time and effort.
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As part of your pursuit, you will be expected to complete a dissertation, which should explore one of the most pressing issues in the field. Here are five hot topics to consider for a DBA dissertation.
1. Global Business Politics
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected. As more businesses explore international opportunities, the need to adapt to a global marketplace is pressing. It is not merely a question of understanding different markets, but it is necessary to look at the legal and political ramifications of globalization as well. Globalization topics can range from an analysis of emerging economies to the way businesses and governments work together in international contexts. Dissertations about globalization can be enriched with detailed case studies and comparative data.
2. Information Technology Integration
Technology is essential to modern business. Almost every business relies on technology in manufacturing, software development, bookkeeping and more. Therefore, a dissertation on information technology is always a good choice. It is especially useful to look at the way technology can be successfully incorporated into the business structure, analyzing its benefits and the complications. Since technology is always evolving, there are plenty of examples to explore during your research. Examining technology from a managerial point of view can be a particularly useful way to go since it looks at the topic from a higher level. Ecommerce and security are also relevant considerations.
3. Business Accountability
After the turmoil in 2008, the idea of accountability is huge in business. Business leaders are always trying to make more money and reach new consumers, but these goals must be adequately balanced by ethical practices. The world saw too clearly what can happen when businesses let ethical standards slide, and many people are still trying to recover professionally and personally. This is why there is ample space to explore new accountability practices, assessing the best ways to maintain ethical business practices while still pushing ahead with profits.
4. Finance and Accounting
Many businesses also suffered financially after the crash of 2008. For this reason, issues of finance and accounting are worthy of more study. To really push the envelope, consider more advanced types of accounting that look at total assets and not just money. These less tangible assets are increasingly important to modern business models, which is why a method of accounting for them is so useful. Finance and accounting are topics that can be paired with other issues. For example, accountability is often tied to financial issues, and there are plenty of issues surrounding the global pressures on accounting practices. The way these topics intersect can make for a more dynamic dissertation.
5. Social Entrepreneurship
One of the most interesting business trends is social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship uses business to solve social problems. In these business models, success is not merely measured by conventional profits. Instead, success is marked by social gains. There is more interest than ever in giving back to communities, which is why social entrepreneurship might be an inspired topic. An exploration of hybrid businesses that seek to earn money and give back can be especially noteworthy for DBA students.
These topics are modern and relevant, which make them ripe for further exploration. Whatever you choose, your DBA dissertation can be an important building block for your career goals.
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In a traditional PhD program, student research is focused towards the creation of articles intended for refereed journals. Publication is the ultimate goal, leading to a dissertation focused on creating a publishable body of research. While such a dissertation would certainly be acceptable for the USF DBA program, our normal expectation is that a candidate's work will be directed towards applying research to the actual problems the candidate must address in his or her professional life. As a result, with the approval of the candidate's dissertation committee, alternative deliverables—such as a research-grounded book, significant project or portfolio of activities—could meet the requirement.
The dissertation process involves three stages:
Taken near the end of the third semester, students write a research-grounded proposal for a potential dissertation topic. Dissertation committees are formed based upon the topics proposed in these exams, and the committee must approve the topic prior to the student's preparing a full proposal.
Proposal Course (Four Credit Hours)
The proposal course is offered during the student's fourth semester. It requires the student to select a four-person dissertation committee and submit a dissertation activity (or portfolio of activities) for approval by the committee.
- GEB 7981 Dissertation Preparation (four credit hours)
Dissertation Courses (16 Credit Hours)
Dissertation courses are offered every quarter throughout the student's last year, upon satisfactory completion of at least 44 credit hours and 4 proposal credit hours. These courses require the student to work towards the completion of the dissertation activity or activities approved by his or her committee. Because the Doctor of Business Administration degree is designed to be responsive to the needs of the candidate, there is considerable flexibility in the form that the dissertation can take—subject to approval by the committee.
Examples that could be approved might include:
- a traditional research dissertation
- a practice-focused book submitted for publication
- a write-up of a substantial work-related project in which the principles of evidence-based research were applied
- a portfolio of related research products/activities that demonstrate knowledge creation or innovative application in a given area.
Such a portfolio might include journal submissions, books, magazine articles, conference papers and presentations. The candidate will meet with members of the committee during each residency of the final year of the program, and will present his or her dissertation to the committee in the final semester of the program; this presentation substitutes for what is sometimes referred to as a defense in traditional PhD programs. Upon satisfactory presentation, the dissertation committee will then approve the awarding of the degree, subject to all remaining program requirements being met.
The 16 dissertation credit hours can be earned by taking one or more of the following courses:
- ACG 7980 Dissertation in Accounting
- FIN 7980 Dissertation
- GEB 7980 Dissertation
- ISM 7980 Dissertation
- MAN 7980 Dissertation
- MAR 7980 Dissertation
Proposal and dissertation courses are graded pass/fail, and must be passed. Students must complete all remaining courses with a grade of "B" or better. Should a student fail to pass or complete a course with the required grade, the DBA Program Committee may offer an alternative activity as a substitute.