The Wisconsin PhD in Management and Human Resources develops scholars in the domain of management. The program prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at leading research universities. Our students achieve placements as assistant professors at top research universities.

Core Areas of Research

Student research is supported by faculty in five core areas:

  • Organizational behavior
  • Human resources
  • Organization theory
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy

Students in our PhD program work closely with faculty members to contribute to significant advancements in the theory and practice of management, as evidenced by our recently published journal articles. Our faculty members are renowned scholars, leaders at the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society, and editors in top scholarly journals.

Academic Requirements

The admissions process is highly competitive. All students must meet the general PhD requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business. Ideal candidates for our program possess a strong academic background at the undergraduate or graduate level and come from a variety of educational backgrounds. A degree in business is not a prerequisite for doctoral-level study, although such a background may be helpful.

Program Coursework

New students in our PhD program start by taking two years of coursework (a course is typically three credits, and a total of thirty two credits are required). Courses are selected in consultation with the PhD coordinator and your advisor.

A substantial share of coursework may be undertaken outside of the business school. Students take a diverse array of seminars in the economics, sociology, psychology, statistics, and computer science departments, depending on their specific research interests. These may be theory or methods courses. Required coursework in research methods and statistics includes a minimum of 18 credits.

During the period of coursework, students will work closely with faculty on research projects. These interactions often lead to research collaborations in which the student becomes a co-author on published research.


The Management and Human Resources Department offers a slate of foundational PhD seminars across the group’s core areas of research: strategy, human resource management, organizational behavior, organization theory, and entrepreneurship. The department also offers two research methods seminars. These seminar offerings vary from year to year, although most are offered every second year.

Doctoral students are expected to take all PhD seminars offered by the department. From these courses you will declare primary and secondary concentrations (e.g., strategy is primary and human resources is secondary).

Preliminary Exams

Preliminary exams are written at the end of the second year (usually in early summer). The exam takes place over two days and consists of four questions: two regarding your primary concentration, one on your secondary concentration, and one concerning research methods.

Upon passing the preliminary exam, students focus on their own research, developing and defending a dissertation. Throughout the PhD program, students participate as full and active members of our research community. The department runs vibrant internal and external speaker series, with both UW and visiting faculty presenting research. Our PhD students actively participate as speakers, presenting their ongoing research.

See Guide for all course requirements.
Hart Posen, PhD in Management and Human Resources
Hart Posen
PhD in Management and Human Resources Faculty Coordinator

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Faculty Research Interests

Ramon Aldag

Research interests:
  • Leadership
  • Organizational culture
  • Group decision processes
  • Job design
  • Decision-making (including computer-aided decision making)
  • Stress and coping
  • Self-management

Russell Coff

Research interests:
  • Competitive advantage
  • Human capital
  • Strategic management
  • Innovation and creativity

Jonathan Eckhardt

Research interests:
  • Student entrepreneurship and technology transfer
  • Technology entrepreneurship
  • Venture finance
  • Entrepreneurship theory

Martin Ganco

Research interests:
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Employee mobility
  • Innovation and technology
  • Business strategy
  • Complexity theory

Barry Gerhart

Research interests:
  • Compensation
  • Human resource management
  • Incentives
  • Staffing

Florence Honoré

Research interests:
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human capital
  • Employee mobility
  • Strategic alliances
  • Matching models

Jirs Meuris

Research interests:
  • Employee well-being and organizational performance
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Personal finances and financial decision-making
  • Applications of behavioral science to public policy

Hart Posen

Research interests:
  • Business strategy
  • Organizational learning
  • Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Computational modeling


Research interests:
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • Household finance
  • Economic development
  • Labor markets

Jihae Shin

Research interests:
  • Work motivation
  • Performance in multi-task environments
  • Creativity
  • Decision-making under uncertainty

Alexander Stajkovic

Research interests:
  • Leadership and organizational behavior
  • Reinforcement theory
  • Social cognitive theory and self-efficacy
  • Interaction between primed subconscious goals and conscious goals
  • Core confidence

Ann Terlaak

Research interests:
  • Business sustainability
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Organizational learning
  • Behavioral theory of the firm

Charlie Trevor

Research interests:
  • Compensation
  • Human resource management
  • Consequences of employee turnover

Maria Triana

Research interests:
  • Diversity
  • Discrimination
  • Organizational justice
  • Human resource management

Connect with Current Students

We encourage you to contact our doctoral students in management and human resources to hear their perspectives on the Wisconsin PhD Program.

View current student profiles

See Our Placement Results

Graduates of our PhD specialization in management and human resources have accepted tenure-track positions at top research universities.

View recent placements