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The Organisational Behaviour Specialisation

As an alternative, discretionary option, students in the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations may take a suite of coursework specialising in Organisational Behaviour.

What is organisational behaviour?

Organisational Behaviour (OB) is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behaviour within organisations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organisation's effectiveness. Understanding these social processes from a micro-perspective is essential to improve how leaders, managers and individual employees contribute to the effectiveness of the organisation. OB at Cambridge Judge Business School is an applied science built on the contributions from behavioural sciences including (social/organisational) psychology, decision-making and judgements, behavioural economics and management. It is concerned with how people's feelings, motivation and cognitions influence human behaviour in organisational and group settings. 

The OB specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations forms part of the Organisational Behaviour PhD pathway.

Learn more about our supervising faculty's research interests

David De Cremer Leadership effectiveness, trust building, maintenance and repair, organisational justice, executive pay and bonuses, behavioural economics and decision-making, behavioural ethics, creativity and innovation, challenges in China and the West.
Jochen Menges Leadership (especially charismatic leadership, leadership climates, effective leadership behaviours and leader-follower interactions); affect in organisations (especially group emotions, collective and individual emotion regulation, motivation and emotion, and emotional intelligence).
Andreas Richter Creativity in teams (especially examination of cross-level influences on employee creativity, and team dynamics predicting team creativity/innovation); effective intergroup relations (especially performance outcomes of cooperating groups); experimental, survey, and mixed methods research.

The modules

The default modules of the Organisational Behaviour specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations include:

Econometrics I

This course introduces you to the variety of quantitative research methods available for applied research in management and economics, providing you with sufficient background to choose techniques and methods suited to different data-sources and models. The focus is on the way techniques relate to theory, and on the insights that can be drawn from their application. We are concerned with the interpretation and appraisal of results, and emphasise applied work.

Topics covered include:

  • The paradigm: underlying "structure" and "true" models of phenomena
  • Probability distributions
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Estimators and their properties
  • Testing hypothesis
  • Confidence intervals
  • Simple and multiple regression
  • Properties of regression coefficients
  • Transformation of variables
  • Linearity, nonlinearity and categorical variables
  • Simultaneous equations
  • Time series models
  • Stationary and nonstationary processes
  • Estimation

Econometrics II

Given the extensive availability and use of individual-level data sources for applied quantitative analysis, it has become increasingly important to understand the techniques available in applied research, their relation to theory, and what insights can be drawn from the estimation of models.

Many of these methods move beyond the standard tools of econometric analysis, in order to exploit the richness or structure of large sources of either cross-section or longitudinal data, or to compensate for some partial observability of data, or to build complexities in decision-making into an empirical study.

This course provides you with sufficient background to choose techniques suited both to the data-source and the model. There is an emphasis on the interpretation and critical appraisal of estimates, as well as on applied work, exploiting the availability of computer techniques for solutions.

Topics covered include:

  • Binary choice
  • Multiple choice and ordered response models
  • Limited dependent variable techniques
  • Duration and survival models
  • Panel data estimation methods
  • Nonparametric and semiparametric regression methods
  • Count data models

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

Organisational Behaviour

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

  • Making a theoretical contribution to OB
  • Personality and values
  • Emotion and moods
  • Motivation
  • Interpersonal networks
  • Work groups and teams
  • Leadership
  • Organisational culture and climate

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.

Organisational Research Methods

This course helps you understand a variety of quantitative research methods, as well as their embeddedness within various research designs. Upon completion of the course, you'll have a good understanding of various quantitative 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: 

  • Research design
  • Experimental & quasi-experimental design
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Mediation & moderation
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Meta-analysis

The objectives of this course are to increase your understanding of organisational research method and your sensitivity to the practical problems in conducting organisational research, as well as to apply organisational research methods to your own research projects and interests.

Organisation Theory

This course focuses on the foundational theories, central debates and key texts that help us conceptualise organisational dynamics. It provides you with advanced reading, writing and interpretation skills relating to, for example, organisational identity, organisational control and theories of entrepreneurship. It is based around intensive seminar-based sessions in which key articles are closely read and discussed. Having completed the course, you will be equipped to interpret and problematise scholarly material relating to the organisation of innovation in a creative and critical manner.

Qualitative Research Methods

This course focuses on three elements of qualitative research methodology:

  • Research philosophy, in which you are introduced to some basic philosophical concepts and tools - particularly in the area of epistemology
  • Qualitative research methods, where we look at the principal types of qualitative data used in management research and the practical and epistemological issues associated with their collection, analysis and use
  • Research design, in which you will come to understand the links between theory, methodology and choice of research techniques; the principles and practice of research design and data access and collection using experiment, observation, interviews, surveys and archival and database retrieval; and issues of research validity, reliability, bias and ethics

The following courses are only taken by SMO students who are not writing a dissertation as part of their MPhil*:

Information Systems, Innovation & Organisational Change

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

two of the following four courses, depending on year:

Marketing Strategy (2017/18)

This course is a survey of three distinct yet related areas: marketing, innovation and emerging economies. Marketing is the study of the interaction between organisations and markets. Innovation is the study of the commercial exploitation by organisations of new ideas. Emerging economies, such as India and China, are the big economic phenomenon of the contemporary global scene and the theatre in which new opportunities for marketing and innovation are unfolding in real time. This course takes a strategic perspective on these topics, viewing them all from the perspective of the firm and its performance.

Seminar in Strategy Content (2017/18)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the content of strategic management - the relationship between the different strategies and resource and capability bundles firms develop, strategic positions they create, and their financial performance and competitive advantage. Building on strategic management, economics-based, and organisational theories, this course covers substantive research on the antecedents and consequences of competitive and corporate strategies undertaken by firms in connection with the changes and disruptions in the environment. The course involves active student participation in group discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

Consumer Behaviour (2018/19)

Consumer behaviour is the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different marketplace alternatives. Consumer behaviour is an important research area within almost all marketing departments at top business schools (and business schools in general), and is also closely related to other fields both within and outside of marketing (e.g., marketing strategy, organisational behaviour, experimental economics, behavioural finance and accounting, sociology, and experimental and social psychology). Thus, an understanding of consumer behaviour is useful to researchers in a number of disciplines, in addition to those planning an academic career in consumer behaviour.

The course mainly consists of seminar-based sessions in which you read, analyse and comment on selected papers from various sub-areas of consumer behaviour, with a view to:

  • developing your own skills as researchers in these areas and in business in general
  • getting you to the point where you can review and write high quality papers in consumer behaviour
  • giving you an understanding of what it takes to publish consumer behaviour research in the top academic journals

Seminar in Strategy Process (2018/19)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the process of strategic management - how strategic decisions are made and implemented. Building on behavioural and psychological theories, this course covers substantive research on the strategic processes such as strategic decision-making and implementation at the individual executives, groups (e.g. top management teams, middle managers) and the organisation as a whole (e.g. culture, corporate governance). The course involves active student participation in collective discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

* Students who do not write an MPhil dissertation may, after consultation with the programme director, replace any of these three modules with an individual research project or by another module from the list of research courses specified in the MPhil handbook.



You are expected to determine your coursework plan at the start of the academic year, upon consultation with the programme director and the Organisational Behaviour specialisation faculty. In particular, your coursework modules can deviate from the above lists and can be selected from other research courses offered by CJBS or other University of Cambridge departments, upon approval by the programme director.

Applications closed

Admissions for entry in 2017/18 have now closed.

Applications for entry in October 2018 will open in September 2017.

Cambridge MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations alumnus Charles Ebert explains what drew him to the programme.

Watch the video


There are a number of scholarships available to MPhil in SMO students, ranging from University of Cambridge and College scholarships to corporate research funding.

Find out more about scholarships