The 1990s have seen the emergence and development of professional doctorates in the UK and, in particular, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). This article identifies the rationales offered for DBA programmes and their intended learning outcomes. Research findings are based on programme documentation produced by the 16 universities offering the DBAs in 1999. Analysis of these documents shows that these programmes have been designed to provide research‐based career development for experienced and senior professionals in management positions. Whereas the PhD is aimed at developing professional researchers, the DBA aims to develop researching professionals. Rather than viewing research as an end itself, the new DBAs have placed research at the service of the development of professional practice and the development of professional practitioners. The learning outcomes of the DBA programmes identified in this paper are appreciably broader than the intended learning outcomes of the traditional PhD in business/management.
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