Management & Organization

Organizational Behavior/Human Resource Management (OB/HR)

The field of Organizational Behavior/Human Resource Management (OB/HR) deals with the behavior of individuals and groups within organizations, and investigates the enhancement of the effectiveness of an organization’s human capital in order to gain competitive advantage and achieve organizational goals. Example topics of OB study include personality/dispositions, emotion and affect, motivation, social concept and identity, decision making and cognition, justice and trust, organization and work attachment, leadership, groups and teams, and organizational culture and climate. Example topics in HR encompass job analysis, recruitment, selection, training and development, performance appraisal, compensation, quality of work life, workforce diversity, and strategic human resource management.

OB/HR Curriculum

Major Specification (18 credits)

Students are required to take nine substantive seminars in various OB/HR content areas, such as Motivation, Leadership, Teams, Decision Making, Training and Performance Management, Strategic Human Resource Management, Emotions, Network, OB foundations, or other topics offered based on faculty expertise. 

Students are also required to attend and participate in the Students Presentations Series (SPS) and Career and Professionalization Seminar Series (CAPSS) sessions each semester during the program – as these sessions will focus on developing critical research and career-related knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 

Minor Specification (12 credits)

Students may choose a set of courses for their minor that significantly enhances their ability to make scientific contributions to their major field and that will improve their placement prospects. These courses could be from within the M&O department, other departments within Smith, or outside of Smith. This option can often encompass a selection of courses both inside and outside the department. For example, many students in OB/HR take one or more courses in the Psychology Department, but other options, such as information technology, strategy, sociology, or economics are also possible.

Research Methodology (Research Tools) Requirement (15 credits)

Students are required to take the following research methods courses:

  1. A general research foundation course that covers basic method topics relevant for business research.
  2. Two statistics course sequences covering basic statistical procedures such as ANOVA and Hierarchical Regression.
  3. Three short courses of advanced methods topics such as factor analysis and structural equation modeling, mediated and moderated regression, social network analysis, multilevel modeling, and other advanced topics offered by the M&O department.  
  4. Additional courses for remaining credits can be taken either within the M&O department or from relevant offerings outside Smith.

Summary of OB/HR Curriculum

Student Status: PhD Student

  Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 Core Classes
Method Classes
Core Classes
Method Classes
Complete First Year
Research Paper
Year 2 Core Classes
Method Classes
Minor Classes
Core Classes
Method Classes
Minor Classes
Comprehensive Exam
Complete Second Year
Research Paper

Student Status: PhD Candidate

  Fall Spring Summer
Year 3 Method Cases (If Needed)
Elective Cases (If Needed)
Method Cases (If Needed)
Elective Cases (If Needed)
Year 4 Dissertation Proposal
Year 5 Graduation

 Academic Requirements

Requirements for advancement from “Ph.D. student” status (years 1-2) to “Ph.D. candidate” status (years 3-5) 

  1. Completion of, and satisfactory grades in, all Curriculum requirements 
  2. A completed First Year Research Paper 
  3. A passing grade on the Comprehensive Exam 
  4. A completed Second Year Research Paper

First Year Research Paper Requirement

The intent of the first year paper is to develop student skills in writing the theoretical framework of a paper. The paper may be based on course research papers or be based on a different original idea.

Comprehensive Examination 

Students must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their 2nd year to proceed in the program. This exam will cover all core material covered during the two first years.

Second Year Research Paper Requirement

Ideally, a second year research paper project will involve the student from the inception of the project. This is because students are likely to learn the most and have the best prospects for a publication in a top journal if they join a project at its inception so that they can participate in all phases, including conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, and write-up. It may be best to think of the project as similar to a master’s thesis in terms of the scope and quality of the project.


Smith Experts Available to Comment on Latest Kodak Moves to Exit Bankruptcy

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Faculty experts in the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business are available to discuss, and give historical perspective on, the recently announced Kodak-management changes and job cuts as the company maneuvers to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The Smith School has an in-house facility for live or taped interviews via fiber-optic line for television or multimedia content.

Smith Business Close-Up: Summer Drought Leads to Fall Price Hikes

August 30, 2012 & September 2, 2012

The summer of 2012 saw record droughts in much of United States, particularly the Midwest, impacting the growing season for the nation’s farmers. With entire crops lost, many of the effects are yet to be seen on the grocery shelves.

In this edition of Smith Business Close-Up with the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Jie Zhang talks about what consumers can expect and how retailers and marketers might react.

Smith School Management Professor Recognized for Top Research

Gilad Chen, the Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, is the winner of the William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award. The award recognizes research with the highest potential to significantly impact in the field of industrial and organizational psychology. It is given annually by Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Chen will receive the award at the organization’s annual conference in Houston in April 2013.


M&O strategy researchers are interested in the roles and problems of general managers and those who manage multi-business firms or multi-functional business units. Major areas of research and teaching include: strategy decision making, resource allocation, value chain configuration,; strategic control and reward systems; innovation; technology; diversification and portfolio strategies; competitive dynamics; dynamic capabilities; value creation strategies; competitive strategy; cooperative strategy; management of the global enterprise; creation and mobilization of knowledge; managing intangible assets; and the composition and processes of top management teams and decision makers.

Current research in the department is split between corporate strategy, which focuses on industry selection; business strategy, which is targeted at how firms should compete within industries; and firm organization, which looks at how the organization and management of firms affects their ability to compete within and across markets. Across these domains, faculty explore cognitions and decisions of CEOs and other top level managers, governance issues related to strategy and organizational structure, strategy formulation and implementation in the global context, and the dynamics of managing strategy and firm resources in complex changing environments.

The strategy faculty is composed of a group of very active researchers, scholars and teachers. We contribute to the training of students and managers who seek to learn about the strategy and the entire organization. Our courses in strategic management help students and managers improve their understanding of strategy and the total performance of firms. Our courses combine state of the art scholarship on strategy with a careful attention to the real behavior of firms.

M&O Strategy faculty are leaders in the field regularly publishing in the best journals and sitting on the editorial boards of elite journals. The strategy faculty are very proud to contribute to the Smith's Schools mission of becoming the top Business school in the country. The Strategy faculty are widely sought for their expertise on a broad range of business issues and Smith students always rank the strategy faculty as one the best teachers in the School

Our curriculum helps students understand the role of the general manager and more specifically to think about and comprehend the strategic direction of large complex organizations. Our electives include focus on strategy formulation, strategy implementation, managing strategy in the global context, and understanding industries and competitive dynamics.

Strategy faculty are actively involved in doctoral student education. For example, they regular publish and research with their doctoral students. Former doctoral students are now active research faculty at Berkeley, Cornell, Instituto de Empressa (Spain), Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, and other universities around the world.

Henry P. Sims Jr.

Dr. Henry (Hank) Sims is Professor Emeritus of Management & Organization, and former Director, Ph.D. Program, at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business. He recently served as Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. He was the founding Academic Director of the Human Resources Management Program at Penn State University. Previously with The Pennsylvania State University; Indiana University; University of California, Irvine; Stanford University, and George Mason University. Dr.

Dr. Edwin A. Locke

Primary Research Areas

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Human Resources Management

Selected Publications

Locke, E. A. (1991) The motivation sequence, the motivation hub and the motivation core.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 50, 288-299.

Judge, T. A. & Locke, E.A. (1993) Effect of dysfunctional thought processes on subjective well-being and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 475-490.

Rudolph Lamone

Rudy Lamone is Professor Emeritus of Management Science and former Dean of the Smith School. He is founder of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Primary Research Areas

  • Technology growth strategy
  • Management team development

Honors and Awards

  • President's Medal, University of Maryland, 1998
  • National Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award (Baltimore), 1996

Consulting Work


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