Design & Innovation Programs

Program Structure

The PhD in management with a concentration in Design & Innovation is focused on interdisciplinary research and trains academic scholars for faculty positions in information systems, strategy, management and marketing at leading business schools.

The organizing principles for the program are:

  • Provide rigorous interdisciplinary training in theory and methods through core courses
  • Challenge students to develop research articles in each year of study that draw from their interdisciplinary training

The PhD program consists of coursework in three areas and a dissertation. Coursework in the following areas is required: general management research and methods, specialization research and a minor area of study.

General management research and methods component involves six courses offering sufficient interdisciplinary orientation:

  • Research theory and method
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Measurement in management research
  • Multivariate data analysis
  • Theory building and analysis
  • Advanced data analysis

At the end of first and second year of study, each student will be expected to complete and present a publishable paper that draws from one of more of their courses of study and demonstrates their progress in the program. These papers are expected to be targeted to top academic conferences and academic journals. In addition, students are required to attend the interdisciplinary research seminar series during each year of their study.

Following the completion of all required coursework, students take a comprehensive qualifying examination, generally during the second summer semester or early in the fall semester of the third year. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive qualifying examination, the student is admitted to candidacy and formally begins the dissertation phase of the program. The dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself are generally completed in one and a half to two years. The advising team for each student will be led by a faculty member from the student’s disciplinary focus but expected to have interdisciplinary representation.

Students making normal progress should expect to finish all degree requirements within four to five years. Students must remain in residence throughout the coursework portion of the program, and the faculty strongly discourages any student from relocating prior to completion of the dissertation as doing so dramatically reduces the likelihood of completing the degree.

Students will be expected to complete a teaching requirement as part of their PhD studies. This requirement includes engaging in teaching responsibilities for at least two full semesters (not including summer) as an instructor of an assigned course and/or assistant assigned to faculty teaching a course. Teaching responsibilities are governed by department priorities as determined by the chair.

Qualified students generally receive full tuition support for PhD courses taken at Case Western Reserve University. Outstanding students tend to receive financial aid based on research or teaching assistantship. Such assistantships require at least 20 hours of assigned work.

For additional information review the general bulletin.

Information Systems Specialization

A management discipline engaged in design- and information-based inquiry, information systems (IS) is influenced by a broad set of concepts from the humanities, social sciences and engineering. The IS faculty is a center of excellence for learning about the ways in which information is generated and used in organizations. We believe that a broad, theoretical study of information that includes human, social and technical aspects will best enable people in organizations to achieve their operational and strategic missions. Design is a central theme of our work, because it connotes the critical evaluation of existing practice, the creation of better alternatives and the changes needed to make new ideas a reality. Design issues of special importance to us include information systems that amplify human and organizational intelligence, that enable new forms of knowledge work and that expand the capability of teams.

Our faculty asks fundamental questions about how information shapes our social and economic environment. We care about the design and use of technology and about information as a uniquely human accomplishment. We believe that information systems are an essential driver in creating a better world, and we are committed to making that better world happen. We approach IS as a global phenomenon and believe that international collaboration is a necessity. We have substantial experience as visiting scholars or consultants in India, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Denmark.

The program seeks intellectually curious students who possess a solid background in information systems or computer science; industrial, service, or interaction design; or related academic areas. The program prepares students for a career in research and teaching, primarily in academic institutions. We seek to attract rigorous lateral thinkers who want to shape their environments and build a strong scholarly track record in design principles for innovation.

Word cloud based on published research articles of information systems faculty in 2012.

Marketing Specialization

As a discipline, marketing lies at the core of the purpose of management—to create and deliver value to customers, shareholders and society at large. As a profession, marketing serves an organization’s vital interests—to manage capabilities for value creation and delivery at organization–customer and organization–society interfaces. Technology, information and globalization are rapidly changing how organizations interact with customers to create and deliver value. Within these new and evolving market realities, current and future opportunities for breakthrough contributions to basic marketing knowledge and practice exist at the interstices of multidisciplinary and multi-methodological approaches to the study of managerial marketing problems.

The marketing faculty is a center of excellence for the study and management of valued customer relationships. We view brands, offerings, interactions and interfaces as design elements and our crucibles for innovation. We recognize that fascinating opportunities for design and innovation lie in dynamic markets that are increasingly rich in information, social in networks, and flat in connectivity. We seek qualified PhD students who are excited about these opportunities and highly motivated to pursue a career in academics with a focus on empirically rigorous and theoretically insightful scholarship.

Word cloud based on 2012 published research articles of marketing faculty

Qualified students will have a demonstrable record of intellectual curiosity, academic excellence and industry experience with a marketing orientation. We value diversity and encourage students with academic work in basic and social sciences including engineering, health and law to apply, in addition to those with business backgrounds. A master's degree with at least two years of industry experience is a must.



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Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235 USA

216.368.2030

weatherhead@case.edu