Organization Studies

  • The PhD program in Organization Studies (ORGS) is designed to train students for careers in scholarly research. A major strength of the program is its emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative approaches in research, encouraging multiple perspectives.

    Two distinguishing features of the doctoral program in Organization Studies are its broad interdisciplinary training and its flexibility. Students are able to shape the training around their own research interests once they have completed the core requirements, and are encouraged to undertake interdisciplinary research drawing on the faculty resources within the Schulich School and the broader York community.

Specialization Details by Category

Study Options

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Student admission is restricted to full-time study exclusively for the first four years. It is not recommended to be working outside of the PhD program during your studies. Students must be able to participate in the PhD program in Toronto.

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The PhD program in Organization Studies is an individualized, research oriented program of study that requires the student to complete core and elective courses in Organizational Behavior and Theory, research methods, and a minor discipline of the candidate’s choice. The program consists of four stages in sequence: coursework, comprehensive examinations, dissertation proposal, and dissertation defense.


Students are expected to undertake the following courses in their first two years of study. They are advised to spread out this course work to commit to a maximum of 3 courses per semester (not including the Graduate Colloquium in Management) and must finalize all course work by June of their second year in the program:

ORGS Mandatory Courses


DCAD Courses




DCAD 7600 and DCAD 7610: This colloquium is a mandatory course held once a month over both the fall and winter semesters in years 1 (DCAD 7600) and 2 (DCAD 7610)

DCAD 7060 and DCAD 7250: It is highly recommended that these two courses be taken concurrently (DCAD 7060 and DCAD 7250).

Elective Courses

ORGS Elective Course #1***
ORGS Elective Course #2
Minor Course #1
Minor Course #2

***  It is strongly recommended that ORGS PhD students take  SB/ORGS 7050 3.0 (Meso Organizational Behaviour) as an elective or as a minor course.

Comprehensive Exam

Students will be required to take a comprehensive exam by the fall of their third year in the program, following completion of their course requirements. Students will schedule this either in June at the completion of their second year or in October at the start of their third year. The comprehensive exam is a written exam consisting of two parts. Part I tests students’ knowledge of theory, ability to conceptualize and ability to extend or offer novel insights into current theory. Part II is a research methods exam.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense

After completion of their comprehensive exams, students are required to have a supervisor recommended to the PhD Program Director for approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies no later than the end of their 5th term of study (Students will not be able to register in the 7th term of study unless a supervisor has been approved). A Supervisory Committee must be recommended by the PhD Program Director to the Dean of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the 8th term of study (Students will not be able to register in the 10th term of study unless a Supervisory Committee has been approved).

A formal proposal that outlines their topic and research plan must be written. The dissertation is produced under the guidance of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee, and examined by the Dissertation Examining Committee, under guidelines established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

We recommend further consultation with your area Ph.D. rep concerning any impending changes to the program requirements and guidance on selecting appropriate optional courses.


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Career Opportunities

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  • Graduates typically pursue careers in academic or research institutions. Both current PhD students and graduates of the program are currently making research contributions in diverse areas such as business ethics, technology, team dynamics, sustainability and non-profit organizations.

    Placement of Recent Graduates

    Sean Buchanan University of Manitoba
    Madeline Toubiana University of Alberta
    Luciana Turchick Hakak University of Fraser Valley
    Golchehreh Sohrab University of Ontario Institute of Technology
    Kevin McKague Cape University, Shannon School of Business
    Ajnesh Prasad University of New South Wales, Australian School of Business
    Wesley Helms Brock University

Student Research

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Scholarly development is an integral part of student life at Schulich School of Business. Working on research topics with award-winning faculty, you will present your findings at industry conferences and publish them in key publications. Highlighted below are some recent accomplishments of PhD students in the Organization Studies area.

Selected Publications

2014 Riaz, S. and Sean Buchanan. “Relational Work by Elite Actors: Defining Authority Relationships as Institutional Maintenance.” Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings.

2014 Rogers, K., Madeline Toubiana. and DeCelles, K. (forthcoming). The fine line between bars: pushing the boundaries of interviewer objectivity. In Kim Elsbach and Rod Kramer (Eds.) “Handbook of innovative qualitative methods”.

2012 Alyssa Friend Wise, Marzieh Saghafian and Poornima Padmanabhan, Towards more precise design guidance: Specifying and testing the functions of assigned student roles in online discussions. Published in Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(1), 55-82

2012 Madeline Toubiana Business pedagogy for social justice? An exploratory investigation of business faculty perspectives of social justice in business education Published in “Management Learning”

2012 Madeline Toubiana and Gad Yair, The salvation of meaning in Peter Drucker’s oeuvre Published in Journal of Management History, 18(2): 178 – 199

2012 Pat Bradshaw and Madeline Toubiana, “Dynamics of nested governance in nonprofit organizations” Published in In Chris Cornforth and Will Brown (eds.) “New Perspectives on Non-Profit Governance”

2011 Golchehreh Sohrab, Rekha Karambayya and Ronald J. Burke , Women in Management in Canada Published In M. J. Davidson, & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Women in Management Worldwide: Progress and Prospects, 2nd ed.: 165-181. Surrey, UK: Gower Publishing

2011 Pat Bradshaw and Madeline Toubiana, Book review: Small Change:Why Business Won’t Save the World Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(4): 773.

2011 Kevin McKague, Dynamic Capabilities and Institutional Entrepreneurship. Published in ” Journal of Enterprising Communities”

2011 Sean Buchanan, The Voice from Outside: Stakeholder Resistance in Non-Profit Organizations. With Bradshaw, P. Published in the Nonprofit Quarterly

2011 Suhaib Riaz, Sean Buchanan and Hari Bapuji, Institutional Work Amidst the Financial Crisis: Emerging Positions of Elite Actors. Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, Published in a special issue on ‘Capitalism in Crisis: Organizational Perspectives’


2015 Sean Buchanan, Trade Associations and the Institutional Evolution of Turbulent Organizational Fields: The Case of Sustainability in the Canadian Mining Industry, 1993-2013. To be presented at the University of Alberta conference on Institutions in Banff, AB – June, 2015.

2014 Madeline Toubiana Once in orange, always in orange? Logic de-identification during institutional transition. Presentation given at Academy of Management, Philadelphia, United States.

2014 Madeline Toubiana, Emotions and institutional logics: Putting affect onto the y-axis. Symposium organizer, Academy of Management, Philadelphia, United States.

2014 Madeline Toubiana, Oliver, C. and Bradshaw, P. Institutional complexity within structurally differentiated hybrids: Implications for logic governance. Presentation given at EGOS, Rotterdam in the “Rethinking Responses to Institutional Complexity” stream.

2014 Madeline Toubiana, Trisha Ruebottom. and Zietsma, C. Reflexivity and resistance: the role of social media in the development of community reflexivity, agency and resistance. Presentation given at 9th Annual Organization Studies Workshop, Corfu, Greece.

2014 Madeline Toubiana. and Trisha Ruebottom. Mission drift and the double bottom line: A framework for managing hybrid organizations. Presentation given at Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, Muskoka, Canada.

Recent Dissertation Topics

2016 Sean Buchanan – Trade Associations and the Strategic Framing of Change in Contested Issue Organizational Fields: The Evolution of Sustainability in the Canadian Mining Industry, 1993-2013

2015 Madeline Toubiana – Once in Orange Always in Orange? The Cognitive, Emotional and Material Elements of De-Identification and Logic Resilience

2015 Golnaz Tajeddin – The Timing of Discrepant Interruptions and Its Influence on Team Performance

2014 Luciana Turchick Hakak – Professionals in Disguise: Identity Work of Internationally Educated Professionals in Situations of Downward Occupational Transition

2014 Golchehreh Sohrab – Patterns of Team Interaction Under Asymmetric Information Distribution Conditions

2013 Kevin McKague – Making Markets Work for the Poor: Market-Based Approaches to Poverty Alleviation as Institutional Leveraging and Redistribution of Social Control

2012 Ajnesh Prasad – Dialectics, Hegemony and a Holographic of Globality: Tales of Personal and Entrepreneurial Survival in Palestine/Israel

2012 Thomas Medcof – Followers and Followership: An Exploration of Follower Prototypes, National Culture, and Personality

2011 Wesley Helms – Antecedents of Settlement on a New Institutional Practice: Negotiation of the ISO 26000 Standard on Social Responsibility (CSR)

Current PhD students in the Organization Studies Area:

as of March 2019

  • Tatiana Astray
  • Camellia Bryan
  • Jaehyun Choi
  • Mingshuang Ji
  • Nyla Obaid
  • Kam Phung
  • Angelique Slade Shantz