In the introduction (1.1) it will be important to add literature introducing your topic. I suggest you start with some history of the Sishen to Saldahna line, its importance to the northern/western cape economic development. This will set the scene for the background. As we discussed on 22 July, we agreed that the focus should be more narrowly on the Sishen to Saldahna line. I sent you some readings (a presentation with some history and data on this line) as well as the Bury et al case on railway maintenance.
In section 1.2 the background is sketched out reasonably well although it is lacking in detail. It would be improved if you supported each point with data/statistics. The Sishen-to-Saldahna line presentation I found for you will provide some of this. No doubt you also have the statistics.
Certainly you do have a persistent and relevant problem.
In 1.3 the goals are well stated. I suggest you also add some background information on yourself and your role.
In 1.4 you state the research questions as follows:
• Primary question: How can we deliver better service, so that maintain the connection between employees and organisational culture, in order to increase performance?
• Secondary question: Will Communication between Transnet Engineering and Transnet Fright Rail help to identify or develop a culture of delivery and performance.
After our discussion on 22 July we agreed the following more precise writing of the questions to help narrow the focus of the study a bit more and align well with EBMgt as the methodology:
1. How can TE develop a culture of delivery and performance that meets the target of its SLA with TFR?
2. What are the causal mechanisms that are generating the situation that had led to failure to deliver the 95% target?
3. How can communication between TE and TFR be improved?
4. How can operational efficiencies be improved?
Currently in 1.5 (Literature) you discuss EBMgt as the literature. The discussion on EBMgt should rather be in the methodology discussion. As we discussed on 22 July, I noted that literature on supply chain efficiency will need to be included in your literature review, i.e. your likely literature is literature on supply chain efficiency. I sent you an article to help you with this:
– Goedhals-Gerber, L. L. (2016). The composite supply chain efficiency model: A case study of the Sishen-Saldanha supply chain. Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management, 10(1), 1-13.
Chapter 2 will be your literature review. As we discussed, I recommended that the literature review provide a background overview on the Sishen-to-Saldanha line – it’s history, key data related to its efficiency and performance; and also discuss literature on supply chain efficiency, starting with the lessons from Goedhals-Gerber.
In 1.6 (the framework), we agreed that systems thinking would be your framework. You will need to write up a more detailed discussion on systems thinking. (Checkland is soft systems thinking by the way). I attach an article by Kim on systems thinking as a refresher for you.
Sections 1,7, 1,8 and 1,9. on the methodology are fine for now. They can be further summarised once you’ve done chapter 3 (Methodology)
Chapter 3 will be your research methodology chapter. This is where you will discuss EBMgt in more detail, as well as data collection, data analysis and validity.
In 1.10 (Ethics) there is currently too little noted on this. This will need substantial additional material added. I attach a paper by Bell & Bryman that would be useful
Your conclusion (1.11) needs to also include mention of what will be covered in all the other chapters. As I see it it is likely to be:
• Chapter 2 – Literature Review
• Chapter 3 – Research Methodology
• Chapter 4 – Research Findings
• Chapter 5 – Discussion, learning journey and conclusion
Overall, you have a reasonably coherent proposal. The research concern is definitely a persistent and relevant problem, the questions are good and the methodology of EBMgt suits the subject matter. What needs to happen now is the hard work of reading academic papers and writing the paper.
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