The PhD Program in Management & Organizations trains scholars for careers as researchers and teachers at premier academic institutions throughout the world.

PhD students at Michigan have the opportunity to work closely with social scientists spanning a broad range of research areas and have access to unparalleled resources for pursuing diverse scholarly interests.



During the first two years of coursework, students take multiple courses which serve as a foundation for research as well as appeal to individual research interests.

These courses include a sequence of four departmental theory seminars on organizations. They also include statistics and research methods courses, two of which must be quantitative while others may be qualitative.

Students take additional graduate courses in their areas of interest including at least two in related disciplines such as Sociology or Psychology.

By March of the second year, students complete an independent empirical research project (IERP) under faculty guidance.

Preliminary Examination and Candidacy

The preliminary exam, covering organizational behavior, organizational theory and research methods, takes place in the summer of the second year.

The exam tests a student’s synthesis of course material and assesses readiness to undertake independent research. Students work closely with others in their cohort to prepare for their prelims. In the remainder of the program, students enter a period of independent dissertation research with an advisor and dissertation committee.


In the fall of the third year, students teach one section of MO 300, the required Organizational Behavior Course for undergraduate business students.

Students take part in a series of seminars training them in the theory and practice of teaching.

Typically, students teach and are totally responsible (including grading) for one section of the multi-section class with other sections taught by a full-time senior faculty member.

Students typically find their teaching experience to be enriching and positive – and feel well-prepared to teach successfully as an assistant professor.

Research Assistantship

Faculty mentoring begins in the first year, soon after students enter the program.

In their first year, students are assigned to a faculty member for a research assistantship based on their research interests. Students often work informally on other projects with faculty – either self- initiated projects or projects faculty already have underway. In their second year, students rotate to work with another faculty member so they get exposure to other research topics and approaches.

Students work collaboratively with faculty and each other. From developing an initial plan to working out the details of the research, the faculty and student meet systematically to discuss the research question, theoretical development and methodological approach.

Weekly Brown Bag Seminars

While not a formal teaching seminar, each week, the MO department meets for a brown bag seminar.

We use this meeting time to build community, share good news, and learn from each other. Sessions include the following: faculty research presentations, students research presentations (including IERPs and practice job talks), departmental job talks, research tutorials, panel discussions on topics like the job search or choosing a dissertation topic, etc.

Independent Empirical Research Project

Purpose and Scope

The IERP is an empirical project designed and conducted by the student under the guidance of two MO faculty members. The project provides hands-on experience in every stage of independent research aimed at publication, including reviewing the literature, designing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the results. The result is expected to be a study suitable for submission to the Academy of Management annual meetings. The IERP may not be submitted as a deliverable for another course -- either for MO 899s or other courses.


Year One

Because the scope of the project is substantial, students are encouraged to choose a topic area in the first year. Students should select an advisor during the winter semester of the first year and begin work on the design at this point.

Summer: Data collection should begin during the summer between the first and second year.

Year Two

January 15: A draft of the sections up to and including the methods section is due.

February 15: Based on feedback from the advisor, a revised draft of the prior sections and a draft of the results section is due.

March 15: Final completed paper is due.


The study is to be evaluated by a committee comprised of the advisor and a second reader chosen from among the MO faculty by the student. The paper is acceptable if the faculty committee judges it to be highly likely to be accepted for presentation at the Academy of Management annual meetings. Students are given one opportunity to revise the paper to meet the standards of the committee.


Students are expected to present their study to the MO department students and faculty in the brown bag in April of their second year.

Management & Organizations PhD Students

Graduated Students

Year Name Current Affiliation
2018 Cassandra Chambers Bocconi University
2018 Chen Zhang Tsinghua University
2017 Lyndon Garrett Boston College
2017 Ashley Hardin Washington University
2017 Yong Hyun Kim Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
2016 Maddy Ong Singapore Management University
2015 Matt Karlesky Suffolk University
2015 Suntae Kim Boston College
2015 Chris Myers Johns Hopkins 
2014 Johan Chu University of Chicago
2014 Laura Rees University of Missouri - Kansas City
2014 Kristina Workman Cornell University
2013 Jeff Bednar Brigham Young University
2013 Natalie Cotton-Nessler Bentley University
2013 Chak Fu Lam City University of Hong Kong
2013 Samir Nurmohamed Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
2013 Ned Wellman Arizona State University
2012 Maria Farkas Imperial College, London
2011 J. Adam Cobb Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
2011 Brent Rosso Montana State University
2011 Flannery Stevens Villanova University
2010 Michelle Barton Boston University
2009 Marlys Christianson University of Toronto
2009 Kathryn Dekas Google
2009 Daniel Gruber University of Cincinnati
2009 Aleksandra Kacperczyk London Business School
2008 Eric Neuman Creighton University
2007 Ruth Blatt University of Illinois at Chicago
2007 Arran Caza University of Manitoba
2007 Emily Heaphy University of Rhode Island
2007 Scott Sonenshein Rice University
2006 Melissa Wooten University of Massachusetts Amherst
2005 Katherine Lawrence University of Michigan
2005 Christopher Marquis Harvard Kennedy School
2004 Timothy Vogus Vanderbilt University

Coordinator: Andrew Hoffman

  • Professor of Management & Organizations
  • Professor of Environment and Sustainability
  • Holcim (US), Inc. Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
Andrew (Andy) Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; a position that...
Gretchen Spreitzer

Research Origins

Where do research ideas come from?

Michigan Ross Professor Gretchen Spreitzer explains the genesis of her research on how employees at the middle level of an organization can feel empowered to spark change and thrive.