Policy and Strategic Management

  • The field of strategic management is concerned with understanding the sources of firms’ success and failure as a prerequisite for improving their performance. Strategy is viewed as an important determinant of organizational success. The field draws from a variety of intellectual disciplines such as economics, sociology, psychology, and biology. It combines and complements other business specialties such as operations, marketing, finance, information technology, and human resources.

    Throughout their program, students have many opportunities to collaborate with their peers as well as a large group of internationally known researchers from within the broad field of strategic management and other areas of research within Schulich.

Specialization Details by Category

Study Options

View details Hide details

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.

Choose a study option to view its details and requirements


View details Hide details

The program is designed to develop the content knowledge and methodological skills necessary for a student to become a successful and productive scholar. Coursework and associated activities help students cultivate the values of research excellence and intellectual curiosity that are essential for their careers. Students are expected to engage actively in research projects throughout their entire graduate program.

In addition, students are required to participate in the departmental research seminar series. By the end of the second year (24 months) students are also expected to have fulfilled the research paper requirement and passed their comprehensive exams.


The foundation courses are designed to provide the prerequisite disciplinary knowledge relevant to strategic management and to provide the background for the topical areas emphasized in the strategy elective courses. The strategy elective courses cover either advanced topics in strategy (e.g. cooperative strategies and networks) or specialized sub-fields within the strategic management field (e.g. international strategy or entrepreneurship).


In addition to the following required courses, students will take two courses in quantitative research methods and selected advanced topics in empirical methods. These specific course selections will be made after consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and the PhD Coordinator.




Plus three of the following courses:


+ Two additional PLCY electives will be offered each year. Please check with your faculty advisor.

Research Colloquium

In addition to the above 12 courses, students are expected to actively participate in the departmental research seminar series. Participation goes beyond just being present and carries an expectation of more involved engagement. Students are also expected to present their research paper and their dissertation proposal in this series.

Specialization Elective

The specialization elective is expected to be provide you more solid grounding from a base discipline (e.g. Economics, Sociology, etc) outside the Schulich School of Business. Under rare circumstances, and with the approval of the area coordinator, this course may be substituted by an independent study. An independent study is undertaken under the supervision of an individual faculty member and normally has a term paper requirement that must be evaluated by the PhD area coordinator or an additional faculty member.

Graduate Colloquium in Management

Students are expected to participate in two full-year Graduate Colloquia in Management in the first and second year of the program:


Research Paper Requirement

Students must submit one research paper that synthesizes a particular body of literature and furthers our understanding on a specific topic in strategy. The research paper is a prerequisite to the comprehensive exams and should comprise both a theoretical and an empirical component. Students work closely with a faculty advisor on this paper.

The initial submission of the research paper is due before the end of December of the second year. Students are required to present this paper in the research seminar series, normally during the spring term. Students are expected to submit the final version of the paper by May 15 of the second year. The paper is evaluated and must be approved by the research paper’s faculty advisor, the area PhD Coordinator and an additional faculty member.

Comprehensive Examination

Following the successful completion of all coursework and the research paper, students may schedule their comprehensive exams. Typically, they take place before the middle of September of their third year. The comprehensive exams are designed to test a student’s breadth of knowledge in the field of strategic management as well as depth of knowledge in select areas. In preparation for their exams, students are given a list of classic readings at the beginning of their program; the list consists of books and journal articles that have defined the field. Students are expected to have a thorough comprehension and understanding of the historical development and the fundamental questions that have guided the discourse in the field. Students are also expected to be thoroughly versed in the current literature and research questions that occupy select areas of the field of strategy. It is assumed that these areas will subsequently define the scope of a student’s dissertation.


The dissertation is the culmination of the PhD program and should lead to an original and substantial scholarly contribution to the Strategic Management field. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students commence the dissertation.


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.


View details Hide details

Faculty members in the Policy and Strategic Management Area explore many interests within the broad area of policy and strategic management, and are active in a wide range of research projects.

Key areas of research include: international management, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurship and technological innovation, corporate governance, and strategy processes. The faculty members share an interest in addressing important policy issues in an intellectually open environment and their work reflects the School’s distinctive innovative, global and diverse culture.

The following faculty are accredited by the Schulich School of Business and the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the supervision of doctoral students:

Selected faculty members

View all members

Career Opportunities

View details Hide details
  • The goal of the PhD program in Policy and Strategic Management is to train students to become productive scholars and teachers who can be placed at research-oriented universities upon graduation.

    Placement of Recent Graduates

    Wan Li University of Saskatchewan, Edwards School of Business
    Mohammad Keyhani University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business
    Trisha Ruebottom Brock University
    Majid Abdi University of Melborne
    Hamid Akbari Ontario Institute of Technology
    Liang Wang University of San Francisco
    Serdar Yavuz Bell

  • Michael Valente, PhD 2007

    “Co-authoring with faculty here at Schulich has been instrumental in understanding the process of conducting high-quality research. ”

    Michael Valente, PhD 2007Associate Professor of Organization Studies and Sustainability, Schulich School of Business

Student Research

View details Hide details
  • Faculty members in the Policy area at Schulich are highly regarded in their areas of specialization and regularly publish in the top journal of the field, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science and Journal of International Business Studies, among others. York University and the Toronto area provide additional access to high calibre faculty and great research opportunities.

    Selected Publications

    2010 Justin Tan and Liang Wang, MNCs’ Response to Ethical Pressure: An Institutional Logic Perspective. Published in “Journal of Business Ethics”

    2010 Trisha Ruebottom, The Microstructures of Rhetorical Strategy in Social Entrepreneurship: Building Legitimacy through Heroes and Villains. Published in “Journal of Business Venturing, special issue: Institutions, Entrepreneurs and Community”

    2010 Justin Tan and Liang Wang, Flexibility-efficiency Tradeoff and Performance Implications among Chinese SOEs. Published in “Journal of Business Research”

    2010 Majid Abdi and Preet Aulakh Internationalization and Performance: Degree, Duration and Scale of Operation. Published in “Academy of Management Proceedings”

    2010 Mekki MacAulay, Growing Revenue with Open Source. Published in “Open Source Business Resource”

    2010 Mekki MacAulay, Integrating Lessons from Other Disciplines into Open Source Practice. Published in “Open Source Business Resource” (Peer-reviewed publication)


    2015 Yang Jie, “Disentangling the Antecedents of Outward FDI of Emerging Market Firms” Academy of Management conference 2015

    2011 Trisha Ruebottom, Wealth, Culture and Corruption Revisited: A Longitudinal Study. Presented at the 2011 Academy of Management Conference

    2011 Mekki MacAulay, The Frontiers of Philosophy of Science in Strategic Management Presented at the ASAC 2011 Conference

    2011 Mohammad Keyhani and Moren Levesque, The role of entrepreneurship in the market process: A simulation study. Presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the Academy of Management, San Antonio, Texas

    2011 Mohammad Keyhani and Moren Levesque. Returns to entrepreneurship in the market process Presented at the INFORMS 2011 annual meeting (November 13-16, Charlotte, North Carolina)

    2011 Mohammad Keyhani. The role of stakeholder values in the financial return to being green Presented at the annual conference of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) (July 2-5,Montreal)

    2011 Mohammad Keyhani Doubtful decision making: Engaging uncertainty and surprise with abductive reasoning. Presented at the annual conference of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) (July 2-5, Montreal)

    Recent Dissertation Topics

    2015 Wan Li – Ambidexterity in Strategic Alliances: How Do Firms Manage Exploration and Exploitation Alliances? An Examination of U.S. High Technology Industries from 1985 to 2009

    2014 Mohammad Keyhani – Entrepreneurial Action and Entrepreneurial Rents

    2013 Trisha Ruebottom – The Role of Story in Institutional Work

    2013 Majid Abdi – Behavioral Underpinnings, Boundary-Spanning Search, and Performance of Internationalizing Firms: Three Essays

    2012 Hamid Akbari – Internationalization and Performance of Emerging-Economy Firms: Institutional Embeddedness in Advanced Economies

    2011 Liang Wang – Institutional Temporal and Cross-Cluster Dynamics in Agglomeration

    2011 Serdar Yavuz – An Attention-Based View of Internationalization: SMEs in Emerging Market Economies


    Current PhD students in the Policy Area:

    as of March 2019

    • Hussein Fadlallah
    • Ramya Krishna Murthy
    • Henrique Raboch
    • Jie Yang
    • Nudrat Mahmood
    • Qasim Saddique
    • Pouyan Tabasi Nejad