The PhD program in organizational behavior trains scholars who are able to draw on the concepts and methods of psychology and sociology in conducting research on behavior and management within complex organizations. It prepares students for careers as researchers and teachers. Program graduates will be comfortable working either in disciplinary departments or in professional schools—especially schools of management.
The organizational behavior doctoral program is presented jointly by the faculty of Harvard Business School and the Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The program combines training in the theory and methods of psychology and sociology, the study of business administration, and empirical research on organizational phenomena. Students have the choice of focusing their research at either the micro (i.e. psychological, interpersonal) or macro (i.e. sociological, organizational) level.
Students in organizational behavior are enrolled in and receive their degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they may work primarily with faculty at Harvard Business School.
Areas of Study
Students in organizational behavior specialize in micro-organizational behavior or sociology, receiving core disciplinary training in either psychology or sociology and gain knowledge of existing research and theory about organizations through advanced coursework in organizational behavior. The sociology track deals with the macro aspects of organizational behavior. It focuses primarily on organizational processes and structures and on organizations in relation to their environments. Students also become familiar with some of the more micro issues emphasized within the micro-organizational track. The micro-organizational track is for students who wish to concentrate on the psychological aspects of organizational behavior. The primary focus is on the psychology of individuals as they engage in decisionmaking, interpersonal relations, and small group activities. Students also become familiar with some of the more macro issues emphasized within the sociology track.
The program admits a small number of exceptionally well-qualified individuals each year. A distinguished undergraduate record is expected, but candidates need not hold a degree in psychology or sociology. Some college work in statistics or mathematics is highly advisable. Candidates with some work experience in organizations are preferred, and they should have exemplary GRE general test or GMAT scores.
Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL, unless they have obtained the equivalent of a US Bachelor's degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction. The committee prefers scores of at least 100 on the Internet based test (IBT) of the TOEFL.