DBA Curriculum | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

The DBA/DM and the PhD in management: Designing Sustainable Systems programs are based on the expectation that you, the practitioner-scholar, will develop the ability to think intensely and critically about problems confronting an organization, a community, a nation and the world. Through conceptually modeling these problems, assessing and modifying the assumptions underlying the models, testing assumptions empirically and applying modes of thought drawn from many disciplines, you will draw conclusions and propose solutions based on the results your models produce.

Our curricula and coursework provide a foundation for conducting rigorous research and practicing evidence-based management. Courses are interrelated theoretically and methodologically and prepare you to bring academic, theoretical and empirical perspectives to bear on problems that you face in your organization or in public policy advocacy.


DBA Program Overview

* Two symbols indicate major focus in subject and one symbol indicates minor focus

Fall, Year One

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 611 – Theory and Practice of Collective Action 3
DBAP 613 – Leading Change 3
DBAP 665 – Introduction to Research Inquiry 3
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 9

Spring, Year One

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 638 – Qualitative Inquiry I 3
DBAP 672 – Flourishing Enterprise: Creating Sustainable Value for Business and World Benefit 3
DBAP 673 – Understanding, Designing, Managing Complex Systems 3
DBAP 642 – Directed Studies 1.5
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 10.5

Fall, Year Two

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 680 – Conflict & Cooperation in the Global Arena 3
DBAP 641 – Qualitative Inquiry II 3
DBAP 648 – Causal Analysis of Business Problems I 3
DBAP 642 – Directed Studies 1.5
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 10.5

Spring, Year Two

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 617 – Technology and Social System Design 3
DBAP 643 – Measuring Business Behaviors and Structures 3
DBAP 649 – Causal Analysis of Business Problems II 3
DBAP 642 – Directed Studies 1.5
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 10.5

Fall, Year Three

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 614 – Business as an Evolving Complex System 3
OR
DBAP 646 – Advanced Analytical Methods for Generalizing Research
3
DBAP 645 – Integration of Qualitative and Quantitative Inquiry 3
DBAP 677 – Designing Sustainable Systems 3
DBAP 642 – Directed Studies Seminar 1.5
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 10.5

Spring, Year Three

Course Credits Design Sustainability Systems
DBAP 640 – Social Ethics: Contemporary Issues 3
DBAP 664 – Knowledge Dissemination to Influence Managerial Practice 3
DBAP 616 – Global Economic Systems and Issues 3
Total Credit Hours for Semester: 9

Total Program Hours: 60


PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems

Weatherhead’s Designing Sustainable Systems track in the PhD in management program offers an extension to the DBA/DM. This program is for DBA/DM students who wish to reorient their careers to formally pursue positions as academic researchers and scholars. DBA/DM students can apply for this degree program during their second year in the DBA/DM program.

Research Requirements and Deliverables

Research Proposal

The first research requirement is a qualitative Research Proposal that frames the student’s research problem and question. Additionally, the proposal specifies a design for the fieldwork portion of the qualitative research project. An inductive qualitative research proposal is developed that synthesizes a substantial body of scholarly literature (theoretical and empirical) in a fashion that creates a conceptual framework and model that provides insight into a significant problem of practice reflecting the lived experiences of a specific group of practitioners. The proposal outlines a broad research question to guide the qualitative research and specifies a design for the fieldwork to be carried out in the study. Students develop individual skills of conceptualizing (including modeling), creating ethnographic/phenomenological interview protocols, conducting semi-structured interviews, and interpretively analyzing qualitative interview data.

Qualitative Research Paper (QRP)

The Qualitative Research Paper presents findings and explanatory concepts from a qualitative fieldwork project. It identifies and frames a potent "phenomenological practice gap" wherein current practitioner and academic knowledge is lacking in guiding effective practice. The research synthesizes significant scholarly literature into a coherent conceptual framework and an understandable model of relationships among theoretical constructs. Students learn to frame effective questions for practitioner-scholarship research that embodies inquiry and openness, aligning the conceptual framework and research question to the chosen problem of practice, and to write scholarly papers that are clear and present a logical flow of well-supported arguments. By understanding the development of grounded theory and understanding ethnographic observation and field notes, students formally and rigorously analyze qualitative data in an interpretive fashion.

Capstone

The Capstone integrates the analytical approaches the student has learned in DBAP 643 Measuring Business Behaviors and Structures and DBAP 649 Causal Analysis of Business Problems II. The Capstone exercise is intended to allow students to demonstrate their independent competence in quantitative inquiry skills and, based on a satisfactory assessment, to progress toward the completion of the quantitative research project which is a requirement for both the DBA/DM and the PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems programs.

Quantitative Research Paper (QNTP)

At the end of the Fall semester of the third year students complete a Quantitative Research Paper. The objective of the quantitative research project is to generate a rigorous and valid quantitative empirical study that is guided by a hypothesized model of the student’s phenomenon of interest. The study must be framed by current theoretical and empirical work within the area of interest. A robust research design is utilized that follows the material covered in the quantitative research courses including collecting and validating data in a way that mitigates biases. The student completes a systematic and rigorous quantitative analysis and interprets the analysis in a way that provides novel insight to the phenomena of interest. The quantitative research paper details the project and is written in a manner that meets high scholarly standards to merit publication in top-rated journals and outlets.

DBA/DM Dissertation

An original and significant endeavor, the DBA/DM dissertation consists of the Qualitative Research Paper and Quantitative Research Paper and an Integrative Paper that provides an overview and organizes the study into a coherent thesis.

Integrative Paper (INP)

As a final requirement for the DBA/DM dissertation, each student in the DBA/DM Program writes a short overview statement introducing their qualitative and quantitative research studies, making substantive observations and conclusions about each study, and presenting a personal reflective statement about its significance to the author and the practice. The initial research proposal is a preliminary way to frame the dissertation overview. Based on the student’s experience by conducting the qualitative and quantitative study, the final synthesis needs to be re-written, revised, and critically evaluated. The overview statement and the qualitative and quantitative research papers serve as the dissertation requirement of the DBA/DM Program.

Additional deliverables for PhD in management: Designing Sustainable Systems track

Although trans-disciplinary research is the main focus of course of the Designing Sustainable Systems track in the PhD in Management program, candidates need to be grounded in a disciplinary field. Therefore, throughout their course of study, candidates read seminal works and acquire knowledge that leads to a grounding in their chosen discipline (marketing, strategy, accounting, information systems, organizational behavior, finance, or economics). Students are required to take a comprehensive exam demonstrating adequate knowledge of the field's theories, research methods, and results. Upon passing the comprehensive exam, students are advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Doctoral candidates in the PhD in Management; Designing Sustainable Systems program undertake dissertation research during their fourth year to extend their contributions to managerial knowledge. Informed by courses in design thinking, sustainability thinking, and complex systems thinking, candidates will incorporate human values and appropriate methods of analysis into their research. An original and significant endeavor, the dissertation includes a detailed review of the topic, relevant research questions, methods of inquiry used, findings obtained, and their implications.

 

For additional information, review the general bulletin.