The Management Division applies basic social science knowledge and research methods to the study of formal organizations and their members. Faculty members and students investigate such issues as how organizations function and why they differ, how organizations are founded and develop, how their behavior and performance are influenced by their position in organizational communities, how organizations affect the communities in which they are situated, how individuals manage others, how careers unfold, how people interact with one another in small groups, and how individuals use information and make decisions. The program prepares students for careers in scholarly research, and graduates take jobs primarily in academic or research institutions.

Management Subfields

The division has expertise in three subfields: Organizational Behavior, Organizational Theory, and Strategy. These subfields are interdependent; many research topics span subfield boundaries, and most faculty members teach and conduct research in more than one subfield.

Organizational Behavior

The subfield of organizational behavior (micro OB) is the study of how individuals and groups affect and are affected by organizations. Drawing primarily on social and cognitive psychology, this area includes such topics as decision making, learning, work motivation and satisfaction, negotiation and bargaining, communication, cooperation and altruism, organizational culture, emotions, group processes, stereotyping and injustice, and power and influence.

Organizational Theory

The subfield of organizational theory (macro OB) is the study of organizations as systems, relations among organizations, and organizational environments. Drawing primarily on social psychology, organizational sociology, and economic sociology, this area includes such topics as organizational structure and demography, organizational culture, power and influence, organizational change, employment relations, technology and innovation, organizational networks, social movements and organizational performance and survival. Both public- and private-sector organizations are analyzed, as are organizations in other countries.


The subfield of strategy is the study of the roles and problems of the general manager. Drawing primarily on sociology, economics, organization, and labor, this area includes such topics as technology and innovation, the management of diversification, employment relations, the structure and functioning of top management teams, corporate social responsibility, entrepreneurship, political economy, and organizational performance and survival.


Doctoral students begin the first year of the program by taking a series of PhD-level courses that provide an overview of theory and research across the entire field of management. In addition, advanced doctoral seminars are offered throughout the year by various faculty members. Core course sequences in sociology, social psychology, and industrial organization economics are offered every year in the disciplinary departments, along with advanced courses that focus on special topics, such as network analysis (sociology), decision making (psychology), and game theory (economics).

Students also take a sequence of required quantitative methods courses in statistics and research design.  Almost all students also continue their methods training through electives in specialized methods in areas ranging from experimental design and panel data analysis to natural language processing and big data.


After passing the qualifying exam, students will develop and submit a  research paper by the summer after their second year. The paper must be of sufficient quality to be submitted to a conference or journal. Students will present their paper at a divisional seminar.  In addition to generating original research as part of their dissertations, students typically work with faculty on other research projects with the aim of having published a paper--or several if they are is organizational behavior--by the time of their graduation.

Students also work closely with faculty and in classes to develop their oral and written capacity to communicate their research to different audiences.  In addition, routine professionalization workshops are held throughout the school year to familiarize students with the responsibilities and norms of academic research positions.