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Courses and Requirements

Innovation through Research

A combination of required core and elective courses are offered, to balance the needs for requisite knowledge and program flexibility. In total, eight theory/research courses, four methods courses, two additional electives (theory or methods), and two qualifying-related courses constitute the curriculum for all Technology Management Ph.D. students. A sample schedule follows the list of courses.

For questions, please contact phd-tmp@tmp.ucsb.edu.

Core & Elective Theory Courses (32 units)

TMP 271 Organizational Behavior (4 units)

This course is designed to provide foundational knowledge in Organizational Behavior, including classic and contemporary theories, ongoing controversies, and ground-breaking empirical studies. In a single quarter it is impossible to complete an exhaustive tour of the field, so we will explore select research domains that will give you a sufficient lay of the land. Topics related to individual, team, and organizational processes will be covered, including perception and personality, motivation, stress, power and influence, conflict, negotiation, decision-making, organization culture, organization structure and design, and organizational change. Students will leave this course with a broad familiarity with theory and research concerned with micro-organizational processes, the analytical skills necessary to critically evaluate and integrate work in this area, and the insights that contribute to the current dialogue in the field.

TMP 272 Organizational Theory (4 units)

This course is designed to give students exposure to various theories of organizing. The course begins by exploring the foundations of organization theory, including Taylorism, Industrial Relations, the Chicago School, and the Carnegie School. Next, the course explores important elaborations of organizational theory including Transaction Cost Economics, Resource Dependence (and structural contingency theory), Institutional Theory, and Population Ecology. Finally, the course explores recent directions in organization theory including Network Forms of Organizing, Process-Based Theories of Organizing, and Work-Based Theories of Organizing. Students will leave this course understanding the antecedents and consequences of organizational form.

TMP 273 Technology Strategy (4 units)

This course is designed to expose students to a broad foundation in technology management strategy research. The course will offer an introduction to the range of research on strategic management, from the theoretical to the empirical, and from the classic to the current. At the heart of the course will be our ability to understand and explain technology strategies, and how and why these differ across organizations and across industries. The course begins with an introduction to the core concepts of strategy and the various factors that may influence firm performance. Then we will cover a number of topics that are central to research in technology management strategy. Each session is meant to introduce you to some classic and current theory on the topic, to link theory to the process of innovation and to point out some additional research that would be valuable to students with a greater interest in the topic. Finally, we will end each session with a discussion of the opportunities for further research in current and evolving domains. These topics include: strategy and the locus of performance, the industrial-organizational economics origins of strategy, transaction cost economics, the resource-based view (RBV), the knowledge-based view, competence and capabilities based theory and how these theories help us understand innovation, technology evolution, industry evolution and technical change.

TMP 274 Networks and Innovation (4 units)

This course explores how organizing processes enable and constrain the development and use of technological innovations. The course focuses on the role of networks in developing ideas for new technologies and the use of networks to diffuse technologies within organizations. The course covers such theoretical perspectives as structuration theory, practice theory, network emergence theory, and diffusion theory. Students will leave this course understanding how networks within organizations affect the paths of technology development and use.

TMP 275 Technology and Organizational Change (4 units)

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental questions and approaches to the study of technology and organizations.  Specifically, we will explore how organizational structures enable and constrain the development of new technologies, and how new technologies enable changes in the process of organizing. The purpose of the course is to provide students with a thorough grounding in various theoretical perspectives on technology development and use.  Students will leave this course understanding how social and political dynamics underlie all technological development and shape the innovation process.

TMP 276 Team Processes and Performance (4 units)

This course focuses on contemporary theories and empirical research on groups and teams in organizational contexts. The course examines a representative set of theoretical and empirical papers on group “inputs” (composition, diversity, structure), processes (coordination, decision-making, influence, intragroup conflict), emergent properties (e.g., shared mental models, transactive memory systems, cross-understanding), outcomes (performance, learning, creativity), and the contextual factors that hamper or encourage group adaptation and effectiveness. Students will explore and critique frameworks, theories, methodologies, and conclusions from prior research, and develop their own perspectives on the topics. Students will leave this course with an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of team-based organizing and management.

TMP 292 Managerial and Organizational Cognition (4 units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to introduce students to the processes by which organizations make decisions. The course focuses on how different micro-level processes (e.g., human biases, motivations) affect macro-level outcomes that are relevant to the strategy and organizations literatures (e.g., performance, innovation, adaptability). The course builds on the seminal ideas of the Carnegie tradition, with an emphasis on bounded rationality, exploration/exploitation, organization design, organizational learning, absorptive capacity, and routines. Recent developments in behavioral economics and mathematical approaches to studying organizational decision-making will also be examined. Students will leave this course with foundational knowledge about the factors that influence the quality of decisions and decision-making in organizations.

TMP 293 Discourse and Institutions (4 units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to give students an understanding of how systems of meaning such as — cultural frames, discourse systems, categorical logics, rhetorical forms, conventions of understanding, subjective field mappings, collective ontologies or institutional logics operate so as to define the nature of markets, technologies, organizations, and organizational environments.  The course will review the history of how these kinds of meaning structures have been theorized and studied by organizational scientists over the last century.  The course will review contemporary research traditions in the field and also examine how new programs grounded in modern text mining technologies are emerging in research areas such as information science, computational hermeneutics and the digital humanities. 

Additional theory elective courses may be offered as needed.

Method Courses (16 units)

Basic Statistics (4 Units)

Taken in another department

Advanced Statistics (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

Taken in another department

TMP 281 Computational Methods and Modeling (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to introduce students to computational techniques for explaining and predicting individual and collective action in organizations. Interest in computational modeling and simulation for social science research has been growing rapidly, but organizational scholars are rarely trained to make full use of available techniques. In this course students will learn about the role of computational modeling in the research process and will explore different computational techniques, including agent-based modeling and system dynamics. Students will become familiar with the use of these techniques in the literature and will develop their skills in building computational models to examine organizational research questions.

TMP 283 Organizational Ethnography (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed as an intense practicum in participant observation in an ethnographic tradition.  Although reading methods texts and research reports written by fieldworkers is crucial for learning to do ethnography, it is not sufficient.  Just as one cannot understand the intricacies of survey, archival, or experimental research without doing a study, so one cannot fully understand ethnography unless one actually works in the field.  Accordingly, the course has six substantive objectives: (1) To provide experience in doing participant observation and ethnographic interviewing, (2) To develop skills at recording, coding, and analyzing observational data, (3) To develop skills at eliciting, recording, coding and analyzing data through ethnographic interviews, (4) To learn to build grounded theory using the constant comparative method, (5) To learn how to evaluate and write ethnography. (6) To provide an opportunity to do a potentially significant piece of social research. In addition to these substantive objectives, the course is designed to achieve a seventh objective:  To provide a supportive climate for learning ethnography.

TMP 282 Network Analysis (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to review theoretical, conceptual, and analytic issues associated with network perspectives on communicating and organizing. The course will review scholarship on the science of networks across a wide array of disciplines for an in-depth look at theories, methods, and tools that can be used to examine the structure and dynamics of networks. The majority of class time will be spent discussing the assigned readings. A series of laboratory exercises will provide experience with computer-based network analysis, modeling and visualization.

Additional Elective Courses (8 units)

Elective Courses

Two additional elective courses are required for the Ph.D. degree. These can be either Theory or Methods courses. These may be offered by TMP faculty or by faculty in other departments.

Sample Program of Study for Ph.D. Students in Technology Management


Fall Quarter

Winter Quarter

Spring Quarter


Course 1: Organizational Behavior

Course 2: Technology Management Strategy

Course 3: Basic Statistics

Course 1: Networks and Innovation

Course 2: Team Processes and Performance

Course 3: ELECTIVE (Sample) Computational Methods and Modeling

Course 1: Organizational Theory

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Discourse and Institutions 


Course 3: ELECTIVE (Sample) Advanced Statistics


Course 1: Technology and Organizational Change

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Managerial and Organizational Cognition

Research and Preparation related to Qualifying Paper and Exam

Course 1: ELECTIVE (Sample) Organizational Ethnography

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Social Movements

Research and Preparation related to Qualifying Paper and Exam

Course 1: ELECTIVE (Sample) Network Methods.

Qualifying Paper

Qualifying Exam


Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation


Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Ph.D. Proposal Defense

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation


Ph.D. Dissertation Research and PreparationPh.D. Dissertation Research and PreparationDissertation Completion and Defense

Ph.D. Requirements

The Ph.D. degree requires students to successfully complete the following courses and examinations:

  1. Completion of 8 theory courses, two of which may be electives.
  2. Completion of 4 research methods courses;
  3. Completion of two additional elective courses (theory or research methods) that offer an opportunity for an integrated course of study proposed by the student, with the advice and consent of the advisor, and approved by the Graduate Advisor;
  4. Satisfactory completion of a qualifying examination and qualifying paper;
  5. Satisfactory completion of a Ph.D. Dissertation that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to contribute significantly and independently to the field of technology management.

Students will typically complete all core and elective courses in years 1 and 2 of the program, culminating in a qualifying examination and qualifying paper. After coursework and examinations are complete, students will begin working on their Dissertation Proposal (typically in year 3) and start executing the dissertation research. Students will typically defend their final Dissertation in year 4 or 5 of the program