I want to do phd in organisational behaviour. However, I am confused about how to chose a topic.

Beyond general strategies for choosing a topic discussed here are there any specific strategies for choosing a PhD topic in organisational behaviour?

  • 2
    Hi and welcome to Academia.SE, this is a Q&A site not a forum so question asking for suggestions like this one are not the proper format. The best persons to help you pick a topic are your possible supervisors, talk to them.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 2:26
  • I've edited the question so that it focusses on the process of finding a topic. Asking for a list of PhD topics is off-topic for this site. I've also edited to make it clear that you are asking for domain specific strategies (as the general question about finding a phd topic would be a duplicate). The end result I think is a useful domain specific question. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 2:41

2 Answers 2


Find a supervisor

A supervisor will typically help you refine your PhD topic. So the first step is to identify researchers in organisational behaviour in universities you are able to attend. It of course helps if you have an understanding of the area that you want to work in so that the supervisor can see the alignment with their research interests.

In general, organisational behaviour researchers go by a range of names and appear in a range of different departments. Look beyond organisational behaviour to also examine areas like human resource management, management, and industrial/organisational psychology. You may find such people in management departments, business schools, I/O psychology programs, as well as a range other areas.

Get to know the literature

Read journal articles in the field to get a feel for what is current. Some of the highest impact journals related to organizational behaviour include:

  1. Journal of Applied Psychology
  2. Personnel Psychology
  3. Academy of Management Journal
  4. Academy of Management Review
  5. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
  6. Administrative Science Quarterly
  7. Journal of Management
  8. Journal of Organizational Behavior
  9. Organizational Research Methods
  10. Journal of Vocational Behavior

Attend major conferences to network and get to know what are the current issues. Some of the biggest conferences are SIOP and Academy of Management in the United States. However, there are many other conferences depending on your specific interests and where you are in the world. For example, Australia has an I/O psychology conference every two years.

Learn about practical problems

Organisational behaviour is an applied field. It aims to improve the performance and well-being of workers and organisations. So, it helps to learn about the practical problems that people in organisations are experiencing.

You can gain this experience in a range of ways. But in general its helpful to actually work or consult related to your area of interest. Talk to practitioners such as consultants, managers, and so on.


The ideas suggested in your link assumes that professors have the time, are willing and are interested to refine your topic. In my view, this assumption does not hold, 99% of the time. Even if they are willing, they will try to convince you to shew towards their area of research. Before coming to that point, you need to present your argument for your area of interest and try to convince the other person. I recommend that you explore journal articles until you find a research gap in the literature reviews, findings and limitations sections. In my case, none of the professors I approached were in my field of interest. And they did not have time to talk to me nor were willing take on additional students.

Also, get to know more academics in the field by engaging with them through forums, emails, university open days, etc. They could also be useful contacts or references during the course of your study. With dedication, you are bound to achieve a breakthrough. Although a title is important, be prepared to revise it during the study period. Its findings, publication of a similar study, etc may influence the change of title.

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