You are here

Organizational Behavior Requirements

I. Preparation in Quantitative Methods

As preparation for the general program requirement, some organizational behavior (OB) students, depending on previous preparation, find it useful to complete preparatory coursework in the summer prior to the first year (or in the first year). If you think you might not be prepared for the general program courses, you should ask questions of advanced OB students or the doctoral liaison.

II. General Program Requirement (GPR)

All students are encouraged to fulfill the general program requirement during their first year of study. Each course must be passed with a grade of P or B- or better. Interpretation of the LP grade will be determined on a case by case basis. Any changes to the GPR or Field Course Requirement (FCR) will be “grandfathered.” Students are responsible for fulfilling the requirements in place at the time they entered the program.

In rare cases, the director of the PhD Program may waive a general program requirement for a student based on similar PhD-level coursework completed elsewhere. Substitutions as shown below can be arranged through the doctoral liaison, in some cases, for students with prior background in the indicated topic.

Students must take three GPR courses, one course in each of the following three topics: microeconomic analysis, econometrics, and organizations/psychology.

Topic Courses Possible Substitutes
Economics MGTECON 600: Microeconomic Analysis I or
ECON 202N: Core Economics: Modules 1 and 2 For Non-Economic PhD Students
ECON 151: Economic Analysis I
MGTECON 200: Managerial Economics (MBA Core)
MGTECON 606: Microeconomic Theory For Non-Economist PhDs
HRMGT 302: Incentives and Productivity
ECON 149: The Modern Firm in Theory and Practice
ECON 157: Imperfect Competition
Econometrics MGTECON 603: Econometric Methods I or
ECON 270: Intermediate Econometrics I

One-Course Sequences

MGTECON 604: Econometric Methods I
MGTECON 605: Econometric Methods III
ECON 271: Intermediate Econometrics II
ECON 272: Intermediate Econometrics III
ECON 640: Quantitative Methods for Empirical Research

Two-Course Sequences

SOC 382 & SOC 383: Sociological Methodology II & III
PSYCH 252/OB652: Statistical Methods for Behavioral and Social Sciences
PSYCH 253: Statistical Theory, Models, and Methodology
POLISCI 350A & POLISCI 350B: Political Methodology I & II
OB 640 & GSBGEN 641: Multivariate Data Analysis & Advanced Empirical Methods

Organizations/ Psychology Macro and micro Organizational Behavior students fulfill the Organizations/Psychology GPR by fulfilling their Field Course Requirement, as listed below.

Every student, beginning in year one, will sign up for the required GSBGEN 699: Practicum in Research course for one unit. In terms during which students are doing a teaching practicum, they would sign up for GSBGEN 698: Practicum in Teaching.

GSB 699: Practicum in Research or
GSB 698: Practicum in Teaching

III. Field Course Requirement (FCR)

The following courses are required of each student. Each course must be passed with a grade of LP or better.

Courses Possible Substitute
OB 671: Social Psychology of Organizations (year one)  
OB 672: Organization and Environment (year one)  
OB 676: Social and Political Processes in Organizations OB 623 & OB 679: Stratification in Organizations & Work and Employment in Organizations
Micro Students
OB 675: Micro Research Methods  
OB 673: Perspectives on the Social Psychology of Organizations (years one to three)  
Macro Students
OB 670: Designing Organizational Research  
OB 674: Perspectives on Organization and Environment (years one to three)  

In addition, there are numerous other courses that students may find useful, including:

SOC 261: Organizational Ecology
SOC 360: Foundations of Organizational Sociology
SOC 366: Workshop on Organizational Ecology
SOC 370A: Sociological Theory
PSYCH 212: Social Psychology
PSYCH 254: Principles of Personality Change
PSYCH 256: Misunderstanding, Conflict and Dispute Resolution
OB 674: Perspectives on Organization and Environment
OB 686: Behavioral Organization Theory
MKTG 642: Behavioral Research in Marketing: Conceptual Foundations
GSBGEN 646: Behavioral Decision Making
STRAT 690: Research Topics in Strategy and Organizations

Additional training in research methods directly relevant to organizational behavior is provided by:

OB 640: Multivariate Analysis
SOC 382, 383 & 384: Research Design and Analysis
PSYCH 273: Research Design and Procedure
MKTG 641: Behavioral Research in Marketing I

Other methods courses that may be of interest are offered by the Department of Statistics.

There are many other courses taken by PhD students that are offered in departments outside Stanford GSB, such as Computer Science, Economics, Management Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and StatisticsFind descriptions of these course offerings at Stanford’s Explore Courses site.

IV. Research Paper Requirement

By the end of the winter quarter in the second year, each student is required to submit a research paper prepared in collaboration with or under the direct supervision of a faculty advisor. Students will present this research paper in the OB seminar in the spring quarter. This paper is a key way that the OB faculty will track the progress of students in their second year and will play a major role in the student’s second-year evaluation.

V. Field Examination

The organizational behavior field examination is comprehensive, drawing on the broad range of theory and research within the purview of organizational behavior. In general, the exam covers coursework from the first year. Students are expected to have an in-depth understanding of scholarship in organizational behavior, however, which often means covering more material than is assigned in the first-year courses.

For this reason, first-year students typically augment their coursework by studying independently in preparation for the field exam, gaining greater depth in the various research areas identified in their first-year courses.

In the examination, students are expected to show an understanding of existing literatures, and to address linkages and controversies among the various literatures. The examination assesses a student’s ability to recognize similarities, differences, and relationships among different strands of organizational behavior scholarship, and to identify important research problems, issues, and prospects. Typically questions will also require that a student demonstrate the ability to design research that would address important research problems.

The examination is given to students as they finish their first year of study. Students are given two full days to complete the examination in an open-book, open-note format.

VI. Research Seminar Requirement

Students are required to attend regularly one of the research seminars coordinated by the OB faculty.

VII. Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is a judgment by the faculty of the student’s potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program. Students may apply for candidacy after successfully passing the general program requirement, first- and second-year field course requirements, research paper requirement, and first-year field exam.

VIII. Supplementary Requirements

Students are urged to attend the workshops and colloquia offered by the Stanford Center for Work, Technology and Organization.

IX. Dissertation Research

Students complete the Oral Examination no later than the end of their fourth year in the program. The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original contribution to scholarship, to exemplify the highest standards of the discipline, and to be of lasting value to the intellectual community.