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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

Jochen Menges How do leaders shape the emotions, motivations and cognitions of their followers and achieve high performance?
Sucheta Nadkarni How do the personalities, gender, values and cognitive characteristics of CEOs and top executive teams influence the strategies and competitive behaviours of their companies and what are the environmental and organisational factors that shape these relationships?
Andreas Richter How do team context factors (e.g. diversity) and team processes affect employee creativity and innovation in both experimental and field settings?
David Stillwell A large part of our lives is mediated through digital devices which collect big data about us. How can we better understand customers, employees or managers from behavioural traces like their social media activity, emails, or purchase records?

Please note, Dr Jochen Menges supervises MPhil dissertations and can be a member of a PhD advisory team.

The modules

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

Econometrics I

This is the first module in the sequence of Econometrics modules designed for Research MPhil students at Cambridge Judge Business School who intend to use econometric methods in their PhD research. It is taught in the 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 are to specify, estimate, test, interpret, and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in subject areas of management, finance, and business economics.

The module is followed in the Lent Term by Econometrics II, training you in methods and applications of Micro-econometrics. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Econometrics II

To carry out empirical research that has the potential to make original contributions to knowledge, it is necessary to exploit the richness and structure of cross-sectional as well as longitudinal data. It is necessary to become enabled 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 research data.

This module introduces you to core econometric methods that are useful in management, finance and business economics research. 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 techniques relate to theory, on the insights that can be drawn from their application, and critical interpretation and appraisal of results.

Students must have taken the Econometrics I course to take this course. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Organisational Research Methods (biennial content)

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

Organisational Behaviour (2019/20)

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
  • Work groups and teams
  • Leadership
  • Organisational culture and climate
  • Developing a research focus

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.

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

Marketing Strategy

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.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Seminar in Strategy Content (2019/20)

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.

Seminar in Strategy Process (2020/21)

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.

Closing dates

Deadline for applications: 28 Jun 2019
However we recommend you apply before December.

Cambridge Trusts funding deadlines are 11 October for Gates US applicants, 5 December for applicants from all other countries.

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