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OBT students 2014

Organizational Behavior and Theory

In the short history of organizational research, one important point of view is often called the Carnegie school. We are that Carnegie school.

In 1958, James March and Herbert Simon (who later won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on decision-making) published Organizations, a book that fundamentally influenced how everyone thinks about organizations and established the foundation for the Carnegie School. The history of organizational research at Carnegie Mellon is one of path-breaking, highly influential, interdisciplinary research, and the PhD Program in Organizational Behavior and Theory (OBT) at Tepper continues in this tradition.

A variety of social science disciplines and topic areas are relevant to the study of human behavior in organizational settings. A distinguishing feature of Tepper’s OBT PhD Program is the broad interdisciplinary training it provides. Cross-registration in courses, access to faculty, and participation in colloquia are encouraged by departments such as Engineering and Public Policy, Human-Computer Interaction studies, Social and Decision Sciences, and the Psychology departments at both CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

A small number of students are accepted into the group each year, with a total of about 10 OBT doctoral students in residence. Student-faculty relationships are close, both professionally and socially. This permits the tailoring of the program of study to fit the background and career goals of the individual. Our program emphasizes preparation for careers in scholarly research, and graduates of the Program usually pursue careers in academic or research institutions.

The field is often broken down into two broad subareas: micro and macro. The OBT group has strengths in topics that span both subareas.

Groups and Teams

The OBT group in the Tepper School houses three scholars squarely in the areas of groups and teams (Argote, Weingart, Woolley) and others whose work is directly relevant (Aven, Chow, Cohen). The Tepper School and Carnegie Mellon University more broadly host several other faculty who work in this area (e.g., Carley, Herbsleb, Kiesler, Krackhardt, and Kraut). We regularly graduate students who research the topic of groups and teams.

Below is a list of faculty and their interests as they relate to the study of groups and teams.

Organizational Learning

The OBT group in the Tepper School hosts three scholars who study group and organizational learning (Argote, Aven, Woolley). Scholars in Information Systems (Mukhopadhyay, Singh) and Economics (Epple, Kryukov) at Tepper as well as researchers at Heinz (Krishnan) Engineering (Fuchs) and Computer Science (Carley, Dabbish, Herbsleb, Kraut) at Carnegie Mellon University also conduct research on learning.  Current research on organizational learning builds on Cyert and March’s book, A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Their book, which is one of the most influential management books of all time, advanced the “Carnegie” school and developed the importance of organizational learning in firms.

Below is a list of faculty and their interests as they relate to the study of groups and organizational learning.

  • Linda Argote: Social networks, transactive memory systems, knowledge transfer, exploitation vs. exploration, and group performance
  • Brandy Aven: Social networks,  transactive memory systems, and group performance
  • Anita Woolley: Learning and collective intelligence in groups and organizations

Ethics and Justice

The OBT group in the Tepper School has three members with expertise in the areas of ethics and justice (Aven, Chow, Cohen). Complementing the OBT group’s focus on ethics and justice, the Tepper School recently hired business ethics scholar Tae Wan Kim for a position focused on business ethics. Kim’s recent hire reflects the growing interest in the fields of ethics and justice, and how critically important these topics are for top-tier institutions like the Tepper School.

Intersection of Business and Technology

Endemic to Tepper’s focus on the intersection of business and technology are critical behavioral issues. Relevant faculty research at this intersection involves responses to rapid change, coordination of work distributed across time and place and continual organizational learning. The OBT area’s research centers focus on critical aspects of the business technology-interface.

  • Linda Argote: knowledge sharing online in geographically distributed firms
  • Mark Fichman: dynamic decision making, customer-supplier relationships, evidence-based management
  • Denise Rousseau: the employment relationship, evidence-based management
  • Laurie Weingart: problem solving and negotiation in geographically distributed teams
  • Anita Woolley:  increasing collective intelligence in human-computer systems

OB&T Program Curriculum and Requirements

 

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