PhD Course Descriptions

Specialization & Course Work
All doctoral students will take a five course seminar series in their first year that provides a foundation in the primary intellectual disciplines that inform management scholars. Four courses -- organizational behavior, organizational theory, strategy, and managerial cognition -- provide a strong theoretical grounding. The fifth course is a research methods survey course that will provide students with a solid foundation in a variety of research methodologies commonly deployed in management studies.

To further the depth of one's studies, students are expected to choose an area of specialization. The purpose of the specialty is to allow students to gain expertise in one of the underlying social science disciplines. Student may choose from one of three core areas of management:

Organizational Behavior - the study of individuals and groups within organizations

Organizational Theory - the study of organizations and the interaction with the general environment

Strategy - the study of competitive interactions between firms

Course requirements for each of these areas differ. Strategy students are required to take doctoral level seminars in microeconomics and industrial organization. Organizational behavior and organizational theory students are expected to take doctoral level seminars in psychology and/or sociology. All students are required to take a doctoral course in statistics.

Beyond the five first-year doctoral seminars, students are expected to take a number of advanced seminars in their area of specialization. The doctoral program allows a student to complete all course work in two years of full-time study. While credit may be granted for courses taken at other institutions, students must complete at least 15 points of course work at NYU. To remain in the program, a student must maintain a grade point average of at least a 3.0.

While completing coursework, each student will choose a faculty advisor. Until a student has chosen an advisor, the school's Doctoral Office and the Department Coordinator provide advice.


Special Topics: Innovation & Creativity
1.5 credits.
The ability of organizations and individuals to create new ideas, products, and technologies is an important part of success in the marketplace. This course takes a multi-level look at the processes of innovation and creativity. We will look at micro-level views of what we know about individual and group creative processes, as well as more macro views about what we know about innovation at the level of organizations and even organizational fields. The approach will draw on empirical and theoretical research in psychology, sociology, and economics to build an understanding of what we do -- and don't -- know about the linked processes of innovation and creativity.

Special Topics: Judgment & Decision Making
1.5 credits.
Behavioral approaches to decision-making received a lot of attention recently. This course will focus on decision making in and by organizations. Organizational decision-making differs from individual decision-making in several aspects. Ambiguity is pervasive in organizational contexts and they are embedded in longitudinal contexts. Incentives play a major role in such decisions especially in those that are repeated decisions. Finally, conflict is endemic in organizational decisions. This course will start with a review of individual decision behavior and will move to discuss decisions made in aggregates of individuals. The course will draw on research in Economics, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology to arrive at a comprehensive perspective of organizational decision-making.

Research Methods
3 credits.

This course introduces the philosophy, basic concepts, and techniques that underlie scientific research in the social sciences. It provides introductory discussions on theory building, the scientific method concepts of measurement, research design, sampling, and statistical inference. Primary emphasis is placed on developing a solid conceptualization of the research process. Topics in research design and data analysis are also covered. Students are required to design an empirical study and collect data to test the study’s hypotheses. This course is intended to be an introductory gateway to advanced courses in the specific research methods students will use in their future research and dissertation work.

Organizational Behavior
3 credits.

This course introduces doctoral students to theories of individual and organizational behavior. It presents perspectives on behavior from a variety of research areas, including social identity theory, affect, emotion, justice, job attitudes, and social networks. As such, the course draws from research in psychol­ogy, sociology, and organization studies. Emphasis is on gaining a deeper understanding of the major areas of organizational behavior research, though emergent areas of theory and research are also considered.

Organization Theory
3 credits.

Organizations operate in dynamic environments. This course introduces doctoral students to the principal theoretical perspectives and empirical findings used to explain relationships among environments, organizational strategies, designs, and performance. Students are expected to develop expertise in the analysis of environments and organizations from several theoretical perspectives, such as resource dependence theory, institutional theory, organizational ecology, and industrial organization economics. The seminar stresses the competitive and mutual dimensions of environments that propel managers to enact business, corporate, and collective strategies, structures, processes, and systems to enhance their firms’ effectiveness. Both theoretical and empirical research are examined to illustrate how different theoretical perspectives require different empirical research methodologies.

Cognition in Organizations
3 credits.

This is a cross-disciplinary course, focusing on cognitive research in organizational behavior, organization theory, and strategy. Topics related to organizational behavior include attribution theory, social identity theory, escalation of commitment, decision biases, and small-group decision making. Topics related to organization theory include the following: environmental perception and interpretation, issue interpretation, issue selling, and sense-making/sense-giving. Topics from the strategy domain include processes of strategy formulation, top ­management team dynamics, decision ­biases as applied to strategic decision ­making, and managerial cognition as applied to perceiving competition.

3 credits.

This course introduces doctoral students to the principal theoretical perspectives and empirical findings in the field of strategy. Students explore strategy from several theoretical perspectives including industrial organization economics, resource-based view, agency and game theory, transaction cost economics, institutional theory, and organizational ecology. The seminar stresses the analysis of competitive interactions. While this course emphasizes the state of the art in theory development and empirical research, the historical roots of current research are also examined.

Strategy II
3 credits.
The field of Strategy is motivated by a simple question: “What allows certain firms to earn positive economic profits while others deliver negative returns?” It offers a set of complicated answers: differences in industry structure, internal capabilities, superior managerial decision making, vertical and horizontal scope and so on.

In the past 3 decades, Strategy has emerged as an important area of study in Management. The Business Policy and Strategy division now boasts of the largest membership in all of AOM. In practice, the field of Strategy is the only area that speaks exclusively to the highest level of corporations – the leaders, the CEOs, and the movers and shakers of the modern firm. It transcends functional areas such as finance or marketing, as it brings functional knowledge to bear on the most critical issues faced by the firm’s key decision makers.

While there is a strong degree of core consensus among scholars, Strategy is a young discipline with many unresolved theoretical puzzles and empirical challenges. Far from being obstacles, these gaps present attractive and ample opportunities for fledging scholars to make a mark. Whether you aspire to contribute directly to the scholarship of Strategy or are simply curious about how Strategy may relate to your area (whether it be Information Systems, Marketing or Public Policy), this course offers an overview of classic concepts and ideas and introduce you to current research in Strategy.

Dissertation Seminar
Open only to doctoral students with the permission of the professor in charge. Senior members of the management staff. 9 credits per semester. Fall and spring.

Individual meeting with the dissertation adviser and members of the tentative reading committee on the dissertation.