The Operations and Technology Management specialisation

What is operations and technology management?

Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are responsible for ‘getting things done’ – for coordinating people, information and resources within and outside an organisation to achieve the organisation’s goals. Marketing promises quality to customers, finance promises return on investment to shareholders – the COO is responsible for keeping these promises. Organisations that excel at getting desirable things done quickly, efficiently and effectively, while responding to developing technology, changing customer needs and shifts in the competitive and regulatory landscape take a leading position in their industry.  

To achieve operational excellence, organisations need reliable internal processes, they need an effective ecosystem of external partners, and they need ways to generate and leverage new ideas. In a nutshell, the academic discipline Operations and Technology Management (OTM) is concerned with the study of the fundamental principles that underlie the design and management of organisational processes, reliable partnerships, and intra- and inter-organisational innovation capabilities.  

The field is diverse and inherently multi-disciplinary, drawing on and applying insights from economics, operations research, industrial engineering, psychology and sociology. In addition, OTM research has overlaps with other organisational functions, such as strategy, marketing, organisational development, and financial management.

All faculty members in the OTM subject group are committed to rigorous and impactful research. We leverage long-standing relationships with other research groups at Cambridge Judge Business School and the wider University, with academic partners and PhD students at other universities around the world, as well as with a range of organisations in the private and public sectors.

You can find more information on the research in the group on the faculty webpages of the Operations and Technology Management subject group.


By default, a student on the OTM specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing, Operations and Organisational Behaviour writes a dissertation, and takes 6 core modules.

Core modules

The core modules for the OTM specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing, Operations and Organisational Behaviour are:

This course introduces you to the OTM research that is done at Cambridge Judge and enables you to write a convincing research proposal. The 8 sessions are each delivered by different faculty members. Each session focuses on one or 2 recent papers that you read before the session. The focus of the session is on “what’s the contribution?” and “why is this a contribution?” The lecturer explains the process that led to the paper and the challenges that arose during the research and its publication. There is also be time to discuss the methodological skills that were necessary to produce this research, and how to acquire them.

You explore what makes a good research question, what is a suitable research method for the question at hand, how does the research relate to and extend the existing academic literature and how does the research inform management practice? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – it is therefore important that you hear from different faculty members who have differing views – and to then make up your own mind.

Following the course, we expect you to identify a faculty member with whom you will produce a research proposal in an area of their expertise. This proposal will form the assessment of the course. You will also be able to expand on this proposal for your PhD continuation application.

You are introduced to the foundations necessary to conduct research in the three areas of marketing, operations and technology management, and finance, with a view to developing your own skills as researchers in these areas and in business in general. This course covers standard models of:

  • individual choice under certainty and uncertainty
  • production theory
  • general equilibrium
  • monopoly pricing, price discrimination
  • information economics
  • behavioural economics

The course gives you some fundamental knowledge of competitive markets, enabling you to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research in a business school.

This is the first in the sequence of Econometrics modules designed for Research MPhil students who intend to use econometric methods in their PhD research at Cambridge Judge Business School. It is taught in Michaelmas Term.

This introductory module develops your capability in using linear regression and associated statistical techniques to examine causal relationships from primarily cross-sectional, observational data. By the end of the module you will be able to specify, estimate, test, interpret, and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in subject areas of management, finance, and business economics.

To carry out empirical research that has the potential to make an original contribution to knowledge in management, finance, business economics and similar fields, it is necessary to exploit the richness and structure of longitudinal as well as cross-sectional, individual-level data. It is necessary to become competent in an array of micro-econometric techniques that help researchers to build into the design of their studies, a variety of complexities (in decision-making, for example) and also compensate for partial observability that is inherent in available data.

This module introduces you to research-level micro-econometric methods. It provides the background required to confidently choose techniques and methods suited to different types of data-sources and models. The focus is on how applied techniques relate to theory, on the insights that can be drawn from their application, and critical interpretation and appraisal of results.

You must have taken the Econometrics I course to take this course.

This course introduces you to a broad range of foundational concepts, problems, strategies, and analytical methods in the operations function of a firm. Topics include problems and issues confronting operations managers such as optimal timing and sizing of capacity expansion, inventory management, and incentives. The course material also provides exposure to conceptual, analytical and empirical research and informs you about a suite of methodological options that ought to be considered while building your subsequent research.

This course covers a mix of qualitative concepts and mathematical modelling frameworks, such as linear programming, nonlinear programming, dynamic programming, queueing theory, and game theory. By now, students are trained in econometrics. Mathematical modelling techniques are an invaluable complement to econometrics in the methods toolbox of operations management researchers. In contrast to econometrics, where models are specified to describe how data is generated and where the collected data is then used to derive statistical statements about the direction and size of causal effects, the mathematical modelling is used to employ the full power of pure logical thinking. The mathematical modeller makes simplifying assumptions about the world (including data availability) and then uses mathematics to predict consequences of these assumptions as mathematical propositions with mathematical proofs. In this quest, modellers will often make assumptions about the behaviour of agents in a system and then ask what the consequences for the long-term “equilibrium” outcome are.

This module has 2 parts. The first part of the module introduces you to the peer review process and specifically the writing of referee reports and the response to such reports. You dissect current working papers published on the web but not yet in journals. You are introduced to the importance of positioning a paper in the OTM literature and learn how to judge whether a paper makes a significant contribution to the field. You also learn to assess the methodological rigour of the paper and the practical value for managers or policymakers. You learn (i) to write a critical but constructive referee report and (ii) to interpret referee feedback and devise a revision strategy for a paper.

In the second part, you learn how modelling frameworks (as introduced in the prerequisite courses) are used in published papers, for example, queuing models in healthcare operations or game theory in supply chain management. This requires you to delve deeper into the technical details of these models, to the extent that you can check the rigour of mathematical proofs. An important emphasis will be on the interpretation of assumptions underlying closed-form solutions (eg convexity) in the managerial context of the paper.


The elective modules for the OTM specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing, Operations and Organisational Behaviour (if the dissertation option was not chosen) are listed below. Students not writing a dissertation would take 6 core modules and 3 electives, including an Individual Research Project:

This module is designed for you to conduct individual research under the supervision of SMOOB faculty members. Research projects can consist of a thorough literature review related to a specific research question, an in-depth critique of published papers, or a specific application of a research methodology (such as a pilot study on the basis of limited data). Our goal is to familiarise you with the faculty members’ current research and bring you closer to the frontier of knowledge. The module can prepare you for the individual research that you will undertake in PhD studies, and can indeed become the starting point of future PhD research.

This course is for students who wish to pursue a research career in a business school and consists of a mix of lectures and seminar-based sessions in which you read, analyse and comment on selected papers. Following the course, you’ll be able to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research.

Topics covered include:

  • Static games of complete information (normal form games)
    • Modelling strategic interactions
    • Iterated dominance and rationalisability
    • Nash equilibrium
    • Application: imperfect competition
    • Mixed strategies
  • Dynamic games of complete information (extensive form games)
    • Extensive form and Nash equilibrium
    • Subgame perfect equilibrium
    • Application: product differentiation
    • Repeated games and one-step deviation
  • Static games of incomplete information
    • Motivation
    • Bayesian Nash equilibrium
  • Dynamic games of incomplete information
    • Perfect Bayesian equilibrium
    • Signalling

This course helps you understand a variety of predominantly quantitative research methods, as well as their embeddedness within various research designs. The course is divided into two independent content blocks, parts I and II, and is designed in such a way that part II can be attended without having attended part I previously. Upon completion you’ll have a good understanding of various research methods commonly used in management research, and will have applied this knowledge to your own research project.

Specifically, the course covers the following content areas, among others:

Part I

  • Research design
  • Experimental & quasi-experimental design
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Mediation & moderation

Part II

  • Multilevel design & analysis
  • Social network design & analysis
  • Big data research design & analysis
  • Meta-analysis

The course increases your understanding of organisational research methods and your sensitivity to the practical problems in conducting organisational research, and enables you to apply organisational research methods to your own research projects and interests.

This course focuses on some key theories and central debates that help us conceptualise the relationship between information systems, innovation, and strategic change. The main texts will draw from information systems, sociology, sociology of technology, and organisation theory. The course examines three key themes:

  • The role of new information technologies in processes of innovation and strategic change within and between industries
  • The role of information systems in enabling innovative work practices and the organisational issues involved in implementing and using technological innovations
  • The relationship between information technology and processes of globalisation

In a large number of empirical contexts in finance and management, data are temporarily ordered in the form of time series. The Time Series Econometrics module introduces you to concepts and methods that are appropriate for empirical research in such settings, covering methods for exploratory time series analysis, estimation of dynamic causal effects and forecasting.

This research seminar helps you understand a variety of cutting-edge topics in organisational behaviour (OB). The overarching question we try to address is how these topics relate to individual, group and organisational effectiveness. Specifically, the course covers the following content areas:

  • making a theoretical contribution to OB
  • personality and values
  • creativity
  • culture
  • leadership
  • ethics
  • affects and cognition
  • artificial intelligence and its applications to organisational behaviour

The objectives of this course are to familiarise you with classic and current articles that have shaped the field of organisational behaviour, and to prepare you to develop and conduct organisational behaviour research yourself.

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

This course offers an introduction to the behavioural approach to economics. Among the topic covered are behavioural game theory, intertemporal decision making, neuroeconomics, cognitive biases, decision-making heuristics and addiction. The course includes both theoretical and empirical material, but a recurring theme is the importance of experimental findings both in the laboratory and in the field.

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

The course introduces you to the economics of networks. This area of research has emerged in the last 2 decades and it has introduced a set of tools for economists to incorporate network structure in the analysis of individual behaviour and economic outcomes. Topics covered include the formation of networks, the provision of local public goods, coordination, learning, trading, and financial networks. A central focus of the course is the interplay between theory and experiments.

Topics covered include:

  • Network formation: strategic and random graph models
  • Games on networks
  • Networks and markets
  • Networks and politics
  • Shocks, contagion and resilience

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

This course provides a rigorous treatment of the main concepts in industrial organisation. The course covers both theory and applications.

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

This course is on development economics and deals with the economic problems of poor countries. It considers some of the main theoretical and analytical issues in development economics as well as the historical development process of now-developed countries. The topics covered are growth, development, poverty, inequality, education, technology, innovation, mutual insurance, finance, savings, weather, climate, health, pandemics, representative democracy, religion, social capital and conflict.

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

The aim is to provide a graduate level training in econometric methods. The emphasis of the course is on single equation models; empirical examples are provided both to motivate and to illustrate the methods. Topics will include: least squares and the linear regression model; instrumental variables; maximum likelihood estimation and test procedures; binary choice and count data models; time series models; simple dynamic structures.

Visit the Faculty of Economics website to learn more about the Econometrics Methods module.

Taught by the Faculty of Economics.

This course covers the standard economic models of individual decision-making with and without uncertainty, models of consumer behaviour and producer behaviour under perfect competition and the Arrow-Debreu general equilibrium model.

One of the following 2 courses, depending on year:

This seminar-based module is an overview of quantitative modelling approaches to research on marketing problems. 3 major areas are covered:

  • Empirical modelling (econometrics)
  • Analytical modelling (game theory/industrial organisation)
  • Experimental economics/behavioural game theory

In each session you’re required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the module, you’ll possess some basic knowledge of quantitative modelling in marketing. You’ll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an in-depth understanding of relevant topics for a research career at a business school.

This seminar-based module is an overview of issues related to consumer behaviour research in marketing. The module includes readings on marketing research as well as cognate home disciplines such as psychology and behavioural economics. 2 major areas are covered:

  • the information processing perspective
  • the behavioural decision perspective

In each session you’re required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the module, you’ll possess some basic knowledge that will help you appreciate and conduct consumer behaviour research. You’ll also be able to leverage your learning experience to develop an in-depth understanding of relevant topics for a research career at a business school.

One of the following 2 courses, depending on year:

This course surveys the major theoretical perspectives and empirical studies in strategic management research, particularly as it relates to the underlying strategic and organisational processes.

Strategic management is currently one of the liveliest areas in all of the social sciences, in part because of the importance of understanding how to best position organisations and get ahead of competition and in part because of the challenges to traditional theory that have emerged over the past 20 years. Strategy deals with charting the future directions of the firm and implementing these directions to maximise the long-term profits. Accordingly, strategic management and processes address the resources, capabilities and strategic positioning of the firm to create and sustain competitive advantage as well as the psychological and social challenges in implementing organisations’ strategies.

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories, puzzles, and empirical contributions in strategic management. These include the relationship between different strategies and the resource and capability bundles firms develop, strategic positions they create, and their financial performance and competitive advantage. The course gives attention to how decision makers operate at the upper echelons, such CEOs, executive teams, and boards of directors, and how they shape the firm’s strategic choices. The course also covers substantive research on the changes to competitive and corporate strategies undertaken by firms in connection with the disruptions in the environment. The course involves active student participation and discussions in a stimulating class environment and the critiques of seminal classic contributions and latest research in key strategy topics. It also involves students developing their own research ideas and learning to communicate them effectively. The focus of the module is on development of students for a scholarly research career.

One of the following 2 courses, depending on year:

This course examines critical issues concerning digital and social innovation for organisations and the wider society. The module focuses on theories from organisation theory, IS, innovation and management to conceptualise digital and social innovation. Their role in enabling opportunities is discussed as well as the unexpected consequences of innovation for different industries and societies.

This course critically examines research that has been conducted in unconventional contexts and that investigates grand challenges, eg poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change. The major themes that are explored include gaining access to novel and unconventional research sites, field-level ethical and moral issues when investigating grand challenges, novel research methods, eg online/digital ethnography, the researcher-practitioner interface, theorising from data gathered from unconventional contexts, and publishing research conducted in novel and unconventional contexts and that investigates grand challenges.

It may be possible that your elective coursework modules can include modules from other research courses offered by Cambridge Judge Business School or other University of Cambridge departments that are not in the above list, upon approval by the Degree Committee.