As a relatively new occupation, Business Analysts are grappling with many aspects of their career as they come into their own. One such aspect is the heavily contested debate on professionalising the occupation and the implications of that for Business Analysts. The implications of professionalising vary, ranging from centralised control that requires Business Analysts to hold credentials before practicing, to creating market shelters that facilitate economic scarcity of the occupational skill sets. The difference between the perception of professionalism as an occupation and professionalism as an organisational management tool has an impact on understanding what drives Business Analysts' perceptions of the professionalisation of the occupation. This study presents an investigation into the perceptions of what constitutes a 'profession'; whether Business Analysts should become professional; the associated advantages and disadvantages to professionalising; and how Business Analysts should pursue professionalisation.
The study was qualitative and exploratory: 16 in-depth interviews were performed exploring the perceptions of Business Analysts and other stakeholders regarding professionalisation. Interviews were conducted with analysts who had recently graduated, certified as professional, intending to certify, not intending to certify and those with no formal occupational training. Interviews with Human Resource practitioners, both internal and external to organisations, as well experts in recruiting professionals were conducted. The data was analysed by performing content analysis on the interviews and identifying predominant themes and identifying the frequency of these themes.
Business Analysts clearly identified the desire to professionalise themselves by forming a collaborative community which is typical of modern liberal professions employing knowledge workers. The need for Business Analysts to professionalise was corroborated by human resource practitioners. The major driving forces for the desire to professionalise is improved quality of delivery to stakeholders and improved knowledge sharing within the professional community. Business Analysts identified the trust relationship between themselves and business stakeholders as paramount to supporting a professional model. A model identifying forces driving occupations to professionalise and opposing forces that resist the change was developed.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.