Organizations & Strategy Ph.D. Program Overview
- Program Structure
- Comprehensive Exams
- Dissertation Proposal
- Dissertation Defense
The Ph.D. Program in Organizations & Strategy trains doctoral students for careers as researchers and teachers at major research universities. This concentration involves the study of organizations, from the perspective of the general manager and focuses on the set of decisions and actions that define what an organization is and what it seeks to become in the context of the larger social and economic environment. Drawing on the organization science and strategic management literatures, coursework in this program examines the internal organization (strategy, processes, structure and behaviors), its overall performance, and its relationship with external environments.
Course requirements include Ph.D. seminars that cover research concerning organizational theory, macro organizational behavior, overview of strategic management, managing the strategic process, and contemporary and global issues in strategic management. In addition, each student completes a set of research methods courses as well as courses in an outside but complementary support area.
Ph.D. students at the University of Tennessee collaborate closely with our faculty on research projects, regular research colloquia, and activities associated with the Academy of Management meetings.
We typically accept 2 to 3 students for each cohort. Our expectation is that students will complete the program and secure a job within four years. Admitted students receive full financial support, which includes a tuition waiver and assistantship to help cover living expenses for four years. Though an MBA is not a prerequisite, it is recommended. Students without an MBA degree will be required to take some background courses (accounting, finance, marketing, economics, management), depending on their previous coursework and experiences.
The program has been designed with the intention that students complete the Organizations & Strategy Ph.D. seminars and research methods courses within the first two years. It is also possible, but not required, that the course work in the outside support area be completed within that same time frame. Listed below are the course requirements.
- Organizations & Strategy Ph.D. Seminars
- »Mgt. 621 Designing Effective Organizations
- »Mgt. 622 Seminar in Macro Organizational Behavior
- »Mgt. 623 Overview of Strategic Management.
- »Mgt. 624 Managing the Strategy Process.
- »Mgt. 625 Contemporary and Global Issues in Strategic Management.
Students are required to complete a total of 21 hours of methods courses. Students must complete each of the five required methods courses listed below in the first group, and two supplemental methods courses from the second group, to be determined through conversation with the program director and the student’s temporary doctoral advisory committee.
- Required Methods Courses
- »MKT 611 Theoretical Foundations.
- »STA 537 Statistics for Research I [Or PSY 521].
- »STA 538 Statistics for Research II [Or PSY 522].
- »MKT 612
- »STA 579 Applied Multivariate Methods.
- SUPPLEMENTAL METHODS COURSES: (select two from this list)
- »IOP 627 Structural Equation Models in Organizational Research
- » MKT 613 Qualitative Research Methods
- » IOP 569 Applied Measurement for IOP
- » IOP 605 Advanced Research Methods in Psych.
- » STA 578 Categorical Data Analysis
The comprehensive exam, covering required coursework 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 the exam. In the remainder of the program, students enter a period of independent dissertation research with an advisor and dissertation committee.
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 20-hour a week 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 regularly to discuss the research question, theoretical development and methodological approach
In the first year, most students take a course in teaching pedagogy. In the second year, students will serve as teaching assistants for ten hours a week, and research assistants for ten hours a week. The initial teaching assignment may be to assist a professor with a large lecture class, to be followed by the assignment of assuming complete responsibility for a class. Students typically find their teaching experience to be enriching and positive – and feel well-prepared to teach successfully as an assistant professor.
Regular Brown Bag Seminars
Twice a month the faculty and students in the Management Department meet for a brown bag seminar over a lunch. This is a time to build community and learn from each other. Sessions will likely include the following: faculty research presentations, student research presentations, departmental job talks, research tutorials, panel discussions on topics like the job search or choosing a dissertation topic, teaching tips, classic book discussions, visiting faculty seminars, etc.
Advancement to Candidacy
Successful completion of the comprehensive examination and completion of the research paper results in admission to candidacy.
- Following admission to candidacy, each student develops a detailed proposal for doctoral dissertation research. Through conversations between the student, faculty members and the Program Director a dissertation chair will be appointed who guides and reviews the progress of the student’s dissertation proposal. The student and the dissertation chair decide the most effective means of developing the proposal.
- The proposal describes key elements of the dissertation, such as:
- The researchable question of the dissertation
- The body of literature from which the student will examine the question
- The student’s predicted answers to the question, along with the relationship of the predictions to the literature
- The data and methods that the dissertation will use to test the predictions
- Many students begin to gather data during or before the proposal stage and present preliminary summary statistics and summary results of initial analysis during the proposal defense.
- [This sequence of elements will be different for a dissertation using interpretive approaches with qualitative methods.]
1. A student making good progress should be ready to defend the dissertation by the end of the fourth year.
2. The final dissertation defense will take place before the Dissertation Committee and other interested faculty and students. Minor changes to the dissertation may be stipulated by the committee.
The Department of Management
408 Stokely Management Center
Knoxville, TN 37996-0545