Doctor of Management Curriculum

The 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.

Year One

Fall semester

Spring semester

  • EDMP 673 – Understanding, Designing, Managing Complex Systems
  • EDMP 638 – Qualitative Inquiry I
  • EDMP 672 – Sustainability and Social Value Creation


  • A conceptual paper which includes the student’s research proposal, due in the second semester of year one

Summer session

  • Two-day workshop on qualitative research methods

Year Two

Fall semester


Spring semester

  • EDMP 617 – Technology and Social System Design
  • EDMP 649 – Causal Analysis of Business Problems II
  • EDMP 643 – Measuring Business Behaviors and Structures

Summer semester

  • Capstone assessment on Quantitative Research Methods
  • 2-day workshop on Quantitative Research Design

Year Three

The year three curriculum of the DM program is also year one of the PhD in management: Designing Sustainable Systems track.

Fall semester

  • EDMP 678 – Effectiveness of Institutional, Individual and Organizational Decision Making
  • EDMP 645 – Integration of Qualitative and Quantitative Inquiry
  • EDMP 640 – Social Ethics: Contemporary Issues


Spring semester

  • EDMP 664 – Knowledge Dissemination to Influence Managerial Practice
  • EDMP 677 – Designing Sustainable Systems
  • EDMP 614 – Business as an Evolving Complex System

DM program deliverables

  • The DM dissertation consists of the Qualitative Research Report (QRP) and Quantitative Research Report) QNTP and an Integrative Paper (INP) that organizes the research into a coherent thesis.

PhD in management: Designing Sustainable Systems track deliverables

  • Generate study plan and a reading list for comprehensive examination
  • Write first version/draft of the PhD thesis proposal

PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems

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

Year Four

Summer session


  • Pass Comprehensive Exam
  • Dissertation proposal defense

Fall semester

  • MGMT 701 – Dissertation Research
  • Includes participating in two research workshops/seminars


  • A manuscript presented and defended in the research workshop

Spring semester

  • MGMT 701 – Dissertation Research
  • Includes participating in two research workshops/seminars


  • A summary of the thesis or a specific paper presented and defended in a research workshop
  • PhD dissertation submitted and defended

For additional course information, review the general bulletin.

Research Requirements and Deliverables

Conceptual Paper (CP)

The first research requirement is a qualitative research proposal that frames the student’s research problem and question, and specifies a design for the fieldwork portion of the qualitative research project. A qualitative research proposal paper 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 worlds of a specified body of practitioners. The concept paper produces a "grand tour" research question to guide the qualitative research project, and specifies a design for the fieldwork to be carried out in the qualitative research project. Students develop individual skills of conceptualizing (including modeling), creating ethnographic/phenomenological interview protocols, conducting phenomenological interviews, and interpretively analyzing qualitative interview data.

Qualitative Research Paper (QRP)

The Qualitative Research Report presents findings and explanatory concepts from the 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.


The Capstone integrates the analytical approaches the student has learned in EDMP 643 Foundations of Quantitative Research Design and EDMP 649 Model Building and Validation 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 inquiry project which is a requirement for both the DM and the PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems track.

Quantitative Research Paper (QNTP)

During the Fall of the third year students need to complete a Quantitative Research Report. The objective of the quantitative inquiry project is to generate a rigorous and valid quantitative empirical study that is guided by a sound conceptual model of their phenomenon of interest. The study needs to be positioned with respect to the theoretical and research literature of the topic, utilize a robust research design to collect credible data that mitigates biases, reflect systematic and rigorous quantitative analysis indicative of material covered in the quantitative inquiry courses, and meet high scholarly standards to merit publication in top-rated journals and outlets.

DM Dissertation

The DM dissertation consists of the Qualitative Research Report (QRP) and Quantitative Research Report) QNTP and an Integrative Paper (INP) that organizes the study into a coherent thesis.

Integrative Paper (INP)

As a final requirement for the DM dissertation, each student in the DM Program writes an overview statement introducing their qualitative and quantitative research reports, making substantive observations and conclusions about each project, and presenting a personal reflective statement about its significance to the author. The conceptual paper is as a preliminary way to frame the dissertation overview and synthesis but based on the stud ent’s experience by conducting the qualitative and quantitative study, the synthesis needs to be re-written, revised, and critically evaluated. The overview statement and the two approved research reports serve as the dissertation requirement of the DM Program.

Additional deliverables for PhD in management: Designing Sustainable Systems track

Although trans-disciplinary research is the main focus 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.

Doctoral candidates in the Designing Sustainable Systems track in the PhD in Management 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.

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Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235 USA