Ross School of Business sign outside of building
PhD in Management and Organizations

Prepare for a career teaching and leading at a top business school. Collaborating with world-renowned faculty, you’ll produce research that explores individual and organizational dynamics, helping managers make better leadership decisions. Leverage the resources of top-ranked social sciences programs across the University of Michigan to add breadth and depth to your research. 

Lindsey Cameron
The M&O program allowed me to learn and try new things in a nurturing environment and then gave me the freedom to develop my ideas. The faculty are engaged and really care about students’ success. Whenever I expressed an interest in doing something unique to further my development, they were fully supportive. Michigan Ross has all of the pieces I needed to grow as a scholar, and the resources and depth of collaboration across the university are unmatched.

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.


Management and Organizations PhD Program Structure

The first two years of coursework will serve as a foundation for research, appealing to individual research interests.

The first two years of the program include a sequence of four seminars on organizational behavior and theory and four terms of research methods courses, two of which must be quantitative. You will take additional graduate courses in your areas of interest. 

Foundational 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 can be qualitative. Together these courses provide a strong foundation in both micro and macro aspects of the field.

You will take additional graduate courses in your areas of interest including at least two in related disciplines such as sociology or psychology. MO students routinely take courses in strategy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, as well as political science, complex systems, education, and linguistics. View a representative list of courses taken by past MO students.  

First-year students also enroll in an independent study on professional development. Co-taught by several faculty, each session covers a different topic, including “finding your topic of passion”, “developing professional relationships”, and “developing strong theory.” 

More details on course structure


Michigan Ross places a unique emphasis on developing students' teaching and classroom skills.

As opposed to the typical practice of being a TA for a number of discussion sections throughout their time in the program, Ross students teach a full course as sole instructors for one semester. This has the advantage of concentrating teaching effort to one semester, and more importantly gives you the critical experience and skills needed to differentiate yourself on the job market and succeed in the classroom as an assistant Professor.

In the fall of your  third year, you will teach one section of MO 300, the required Organizational Behavior Course for undergraduate business students. Typically, you will teach and are responsible (including grading) for one section (70-80 BBA juniors) of the multi-section class; other sections are taught by full-time faculty members. You will learn to teach in a supportive environment with weekly mentorship and guidance from the teaching team while also experiencing the autonomy and responsibility that comes with being the sole instructor for your section.

Leading up to the teaching semester, you will take part in the Ross Faculty in Training program. These hands-on seminars cover lesson planning, classroom management, and instructional methods, and include practice teaching sessions with live feedback. 

Students typically find their teaching experience to be enriching and positive, and by the end of their teaching semester feel well prepared to teach successfully as an assistant professor. 

Before the end of the second year, you will complete a piece of empirical research under faculty guidance.

Faculty mentoring begins in your first year, soon after entering the program. You are assigned to a faculty member for a research assistantship based on your  research interests, working informally on projects with faculty – either self-initiated projects or projects faculty already have underway. In your second and third years, you will rotate to work with other faculty members to gain exposure to other research topics and approaches.

Work collaboratively with faculty on developing an initial plan and working out the research details, meeting systematically to discuss the research question, theoretical development, and methodological approach.

Independent Empirical Research Study

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.

Year One
Because the scope of the project is substantial, you are encouraged to choose a topic area in your first year. You should select an advisor during the winter semester of your first year and begin work on the design..

Summer: Data collection should begin during the summer between your 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 among the MO faculty chosen by you. 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. You are given one opportunity to revise the paper to meet the standards of the committee.

You are expected to present your study to the MO department students and faculty in the brown bag seminar in April of your second year.

The preliminary exam, covering organizational behavior, organizational theory, and research methods, takes place at the end of the second year. The remainder of the program is devoted to the dissertation.

The exam tests your synthesis of course material and assesses readiness to undertake independent research. You will  work closely with others in your cohort to prepare for your prelims. In the remainder of the program, you enter a period of independent dissertation research with an advisor and dissertation committee. 

True to the spirit of interdisciplinary scholarship, you will receive advice on your research from faculty in a variety of departments. In addition to MO faculty, faculty from strategy, operations, sociology, organizational studies, marketing, psychology, and even anthropology and medicine sit on  dissertation committees.

ICOS, or the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies, is a Michigan institution going back over two decades with the single goal of enhancing the University of Michigan's strength as a world center for interdisciplinary research and scholarship on organizations. During the school year, weekly ICOS seminars at Ross feature organizational scholars from various disciplines such as business, psychology, sociology, public health, history, and information.

Ross is also home to the Center for Positive Organizations, a research community dedicated to inspiring and enabling leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people. 

Benefit from access to numerous best-in-class research and methods support resources on the University of Michigan campus. 

A few of the campus resources available include: 

Consulting for Statistics, Computing, and Analytics Research

Provides consulting services and training opportunities in statistics, data science, and advanced research computation to researchers across campus, regardless of skill level or academic background. Many MO PhD students have taken advantage of free CSCAR consultations for advice on research design and analytic strategies for both survey and experimental data (e.g., R and Stata) as well as computational and big data (using Python/Numpy). 

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

The ICPSR, headquartered in the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, is a powerhouse of data and methods support for social and behavioral sciences. ICPSR's data archive provides students with access to over 250,000 files. MO students particularly enjoy ICPSR's Summer Institute, which holds four-week intensive workshops on research design, statistics, and data analysis.

Big Data Camp

The ICOS Big Data Camp is the latest in the series of cutting-edge methods training available to MO PhD students. Hosted by MichiganRoss, the week-long camp teaches researchers how to tap into the web-mediated social world to access massive data sets. Many MO students have attended the camp and built new skills in Python and SQL to use APIs and NLTK in their research.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

The UROP affords PhD students access to additional research assistance. UROP matches undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience to faculty and doctoral students who are looking for research assistance and willing to mentor students. Occasionally, MO students take part in UROP, getting component research help while learning to mentor students.

Management and Organizations PhD Faculty

As a PhD student at Michigan Ross, you will have the opportunity to work closely with social scientists spanning a broad range of research areas and have access to unparalleled resources for pursuing your diverse scholarly interests. 

Professor of Management and Organizations
Management and Organizations Faculty Doctoral Coordinator
Michael & Susan Jandernoa Professor of Management and Organizations
Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organizations
Professor for Management and Organizations
Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow
Professor of Management & Organizations
Professor of Environment and Sustainability
Holcim (US), Inc. Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
Professor of Management & Organizations, Ross School of Business
Director, Self-Control and Emotion Laboratory
Chair, Social Psychology Area
Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan
Faculty Lead of Innovation, Eisenberg Family Depression Center
John H. Mitchell Professor in Business Ethics
Professor of Management and Organizations
Chair of Management & Organizations
John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor of Complexity, Social Science, and Management
Williamson Family Professor of Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organizations, Ross
Professor of Political Science, Professor of Complex Systems, Professor of Economics, LS&A
William Russell Kelly Professor of Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organizations
Associate Dean for Executive and Corporate Relations
Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organizations
A.F. Thurnau Professor
Gerald and Esther Carey Professor of Business Administration
Professor of Management & Organizations
Professor of Strategy

Learn more about the faculty and research contributions of the management and organazations area at Michigan Ross.

Recent Management and Organizations Placements

Kat Bae, 2023
University of Illinois at Chicago

Sarah Gordon, 2023
McGill University

Mijeong Kwon, 2022
University of Colorado, Denver

Laura Sonday, 2021
University of North Carolina

Eun Woo Kim, 2020
University of Nottingham, Ningbo China

Lindsey Cameron, 2019
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Teddy Dewitt, 2019
University of Massachusetts, Boston

Cassandra Chambers, 2018    
Bocconi University

Chen Zhang, 2018
Tsinghua University

Lyndon Garrett, 2017
Boston College

Ashley Hardin, 2017
Washington University

Yong Hyun Ki, 2017
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Maddy Ong, 2016
Singapore Management University

Matt Karlesky, 2015
Suffolk University

Suntae Kim, 2015
Boston College

Chris Myers, 2015
Harvard University

Current Management & Organizations PhD Students

Join the next generation of research scholars preparing to solve the most complex issues facing the fields of management and organizations. 

Christina Bradley

Christina Bradley

Manjari (Manju) Ganti

Manjari (Manju) Ganti

no-photo available

Anusha Kallapur

Devin Kilpatrick

Devin Kilpatrick

no-photo available

Jordan Nye

Sukanya Roy

Sukanya Roy

Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

Alaina Segura

Alaina Segura

Elizabeth Trinh

Elizabeth Trinh  
Elizabeth Trinh

Connect with a Management and Organizations PhD Student or Alum
Student and Alumni Perspectives

Learn more about the PhD community and collaborative experience within the program from current students and recent alumni.  

Student Profile
Exploring Choice in a Meaningful Way
Devin’s interest in why people make the choices that they do began when he was an undergraduate student at Princeton University studying sociology and Latin American Studies.

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Exploring Resilience in Business at Ross
I feel like the hard part is deciding whether or not you want to do a PhD, because it’s a decision that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. You’re taking five or six years of your life and just focusing on one thing, and at depth. But making the choice to come to Michigan Ross? Now that’s easy.

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PhD '15
Cultivating Academic Ties Across Multiple Disciplines
I chose Ross because of the collaborative, supportive community, and the many different disciplines and approaches to research.

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