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Organizational Change Leadership Ph.D.

At Western Michigan University, we believe that change is not simply a reaction to external forces—it is an opportunity to shape the future. The Ph.D. program in Education and Human Development with a concentration in Organizational Change Leadership is designed to empower the next generation of change leaders and scholars to revolutionize organizations and industries.

Throughout the program, students engage in a rigorous curriculum that prepares them to become scholars and practitioners in the dynamic field of organizational change and transformation. Students gain a deep knowledge of cutting-edge organizational theory, advanced applied research methods, and effective strategies to facilitate change within and across diverse organizations. By integrating theory with practical applications, students develop the skills necessary to drive meaningful and sustainable change in complex organizational environments and the perspective and disposition required to serve as leaders in their organizations and communities.

We are committed to cultivating a vibrant community of change leaders and scholars who are equipped with not only the latest research and practical tools but also the competencies needed to navigate the complexities of organizational ecosystems and drive impactful change. Our students excel as organizational leaders, change consultants, and thought leaders, collectively making a meaningful impact on organizations and society.

Why Organizational Change Leadership at Western Michigan University?

Applied research - The curriculum includes a strong emphasis on applied research and scholarly inquiry. Students delve deep into the theoretical foundations of organizational change, engage in advanced research methodologies, and contribute to the existing body of knowledge through their doctoral research, which is embedded in organizations and has a lasting impact on the field.

Skills and mindsets - The program is intentionally designed to foster the development of essential skills for change leaders, such as an entrepreneurial mindset, systems thinking, and effective change leadership, equipping students with the competencies needed to navigate the complexities of organizational ecosystems and drive impactful change.

Scholar practitioner development - We are dedicated to developing scholar-practitioners who can integrate both theory and practice. The program offers comprehensive training in research methodologies, academic writing, instruction, and consulting. Students gain the skills needed to effectively communicate research findings with multiple audiences, influence change agendas, and inspire others to embrace transformation.

Interdisciplinary approach - The program adopts an interdisciplinary approach, integrating concepts and theories from fields such as psychology, organizational behavior, sociology, anthropology, technology, and management. This interdisciplinary perspective enables students to gain a holistic understanding of organizational dynamics as well as the larger ecosystem, fostering innovative thinking in their research endeavors and change interventions.

Personalization and relevance - Through a variety of elective experiences, students are provided with the opportunity to personalize their learning and focus on an area of inquiry that aligns with their individual interests, career aspirations, and daily work. Faculty mentors support the design and development of these learning pathways. In addition, flexibility is built into key benchmarks such as the comprehensive exam portfolio model, allowing students to tailor their learning toward career goals.

Dynamic learning environment - The program offers a dynamic and collaborative learning environment where doctoral students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and fellow scholars through interactive seminars, consulting projects, and collaborative research. Students represent leaders in a wide range of industries and organizational settings, which contribute unique perspectives and insights. This environment fosters intellectual exchange, the co-creation of knowledge, and the development of a strong scholarly community.

Faculty expertise and mentorship - At Western Michigan University, we are committed to providing our students with a supportive and collaborative learning environment. Our distinguished faculty, who are both experienced practitioners and renowned scholars, offer mentorship and guidance to students throughout their doctoral journey, helping them to develop their research interests, refine their research methodologies, and disseminate their research. The structure of the program is designed to support individual mentoring and faculty-student collaboration, thus supporting students throughout their coursework and dissertation process.

"We focus on the development of marketable skills—skills wanted by employers in a vast array of industries." 

- Dr. David Szabla, Program Coordinator

Admission requirements

Note: When completing your application, be sure to complete the supplemental form section by selecting Organizational Change Leadership.

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution indicated on an official transcript
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 for all graduate work undertaken beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts, as required by WMU
  • Career and professional goals written narrative in which an applicant describes their professional goals and how this doctoral program fits with those goals
  • Three graduate reference forms completed by individuals who can address an applicant’s ability to complete doctoral-level work successfully
  • A professional curriculum vitae or resume