Degree Requirements: Master's
Completion Time: 5 years average
Earned Credits: 60 - 85
This program is designed to help students lead in a way that empowers people within the communities they serve. Guided by faculty with years of experience in the field, students will learn how to:
- Understand the complexity of challenges and opportunities that organizations and communities face
- Diagnose, research, evaluate, and design interventions for transformative change in private, public, and social institutions
- Facilitate, guide, educate, and empower people in diverse contexts
The specialization in Leadership for Sustainable Organizations uses stakeholder theory, human development, and capabilities principles to enable students to develop realistic ways to put human experience and the practice of engaged collaborative leadership at the center of issues of resilience and regeneration for a viable future. For example, it includes sustainable business practices applicable in multiple economic environments, while bringing a unique focus to the human dimensions of sustainability. Graduates will become part of a global network of scholar-practitioners, a professional community dedicated to bringing positive change to the world.
The Ph.D. in Managing Organizational Systems: Leadership of Sustainable Systems Specialization provides an opportunity for those in managerial, administrative, or executive roles to advance their careers to involve broader leadership roles. Graduates may also pursue roles as consultants, change managers, CEOs, and community leaders for a variety of institutions, such as:
- Fortune 500 companies
- Social service agencies
- Nonprofit organizations
- National and global consulting firms
- Federal or local government
Students learn that leaders committed to fostering sustainable organizations manage the tensions among diverse individuals, interests, groups, and sectors, and learn how leadership is challenged to design change processes that over time reverse damaging current trends and lead toward collectively desired sustainable futures.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
The total doctoral degree is 65 to 80 credits. In addition to the research focused courses, there are nine foundational courses in leadership, organizational behavior and systems and professional ethics, and five elective courses that can focus on specialized areas of study if a student wishes. Students usually take three courses per semester. The average time to complete the doctoral degree is five years.
Participation in twice-annual, five-day Residential Conferences (RCs) is required until enrollment in dissertation begins (i.e., until after the completion of the three candidacy qualifying essays and successful completion of the essay oral exam).
Transfer Credit Policy
Transfer credits, to be considered, must have been (a) awarded by a regionally accredited university, (b) earned at the graduate level (master’s or doctoral), (c) earned at the grade level of B or better and (d) evaluated by the department chair as equivalent to a degree course for which a substitution is appropriate and conceptually fit with the degree program course of study. While transfer credit policy may vary by degree and specialization, no more than 12 credits may be transferred.
Envisioning Leadership as a Tool for Transformation
The contemporary organization is a complex enterprise requiring managers to engage with and lead a global workforce and facilitate dynamic social networks utilizing various forms of communication and collaboration technology platforms. Using various analytical lenses, this interdisciplinary course critically examines core distributed organizational characteristics, behaviors, dynamics and issues, as well as management approaches shaped by social systems, intra and inter organizational networks, and cross-cultural perspectives. Particular attention is given to exploring innovative organizational structures, cultures, operational processes, workplace environments, and sociotechnical communication systems founded in human-centric workplace and information systems principles. 3 credits
Organizations and Social Systems Design
Focusing on organizations, this course explores Social Systems Design as developed by Banathy, Ackoff, and others. Social systems design is a participatory, collaborative and disciplined way of engaging in future creating inquiry. The learner will address questions such as: What is design in a social context? What is a design culture and how does it relate to the sciences, the humanities, and organizational behavior and development? Building upon these notions, the course will also examine: How do organizations and workplaces respond to change? How organizational managers can facilitate the design of social systems in their enterprises? Design principles such as form follows function and the ethics of designing with those that will live the consequences of the choices made are explored. Social Systems Design shares core assumptions with participatory action research. The learner will be able to explore the usefulness of social systems design for the creation of new organizations or for the transformation of existing ones. 3 credits
Sociotechnical Information Systems and Distributed Organizations: Organizational Communication, Information Flow, and Technology
This interdisciplinary course explores organizations as dynamic global enterprises that weave together people and technology into self-organizing, interactive networks. Students examine how digital technology has (a) changed the nature and dynamics of socio-technical systems, (b) transformed organizational information systems and enterprise wide knowledge generation and application, and (c) reshaped organizational cultures, workplace operations, business partnerships, and supply chains. Central to this course is enabling students to develop their own socio-technical organizational model and to devise approaches to effectively design, implement, and manage technological information and communication systems that enhance the quality of both organizational performance and work life. Intermediate level course. 3 credits