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

  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
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.

Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
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