A PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership offers more than meets the eye. From its interdisciplinary nature to its research focus and practical application, organizational leadership is a field of study that dives deep into understanding how organizations function. In this guide, we will cover exactly what this advanced degree entails, hard and soft skills you can aim to gain from the program; and finally, we’ll answer the question ‘What can you do with a PhD in Organizational Leadership?’

What Is a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership?

To get us started, a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership is a doctorate of philosophy and a terminal degree in the field of organizational leadership. According to Indeed, in a PhD in the organizational leadership program, you can expect to get a better grasp on understanding several major elements: management, how organizations function and evolve, and leadership styles, among other aspects that make up an organization. Indeed summarizes:

“Organizational leadership is a strategy that reviews the management of an entire organization and how the goals of individuals can be aligned with those of the company. The aim is to examine how the empowerment, performance, and training of staff members can lead to an increase in work ethic and motivation, bringing the company closer to its vision. The key to organizational leadership is to combine outstanding management practices with an in-depth knowledge of human psychology.”

In essence, the last two components mentioned above–that is, management practices and human psychology–are vital to the foundation of a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership.

What Are Some Soft Skills Related to Organizational Development and Leadership?

Another helpful resource from Indeed sheds light on some of the soft skills one might gain from a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership. These soft skills include:

  1. Communication skills: Communication skills involve conveying information clearly through various channels and actively listening to understand others' perspectives.
  2. Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving entails identifying, analyzing, and resolving complex organizational challenges through critical thinking, creativity, and logical reasoning to develop effective solutions.
  3. Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking involves envisioning long-term success for an organization by setting goals, anticipating trends, and making informed decisions to achieve desired outcomes.
  4. Prioritization: Prioritization is the skill of identifying key tasks or goals, allocating resources, and ensuring effective use to achieve organizational objectives by assessing urgency, importance, and impact.
  5. Interpersonal skills: Interpersonal skills involve effective communication, empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution in professional settings.
  6. Organization skills: Organization skills entail efficiently managing time, resources, and information to meet deadlines through effective planning, delegation, and multitasking.
  7. Innovation: Innovation involves creating and implementing new ideas, products, or processes to add value, driven by creativity, risk-taking, and adaptability to stay competitive.
  8. Knowledge of your organization: This will help you gain a full understanding of an organization's structure, culture, operations, and goals, along with industry trends and internal policies, to drive informed decisions and positive change.
  9. Self-awareness: This involves the capacity to recognize and understand one's own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and leadership style. Self-awareness enables individuals to manage themselves effectively, seek personal and professional growth, and build authentic relationships with others.
  10. Time management: This skill includes planning, organizing, and prioritizing tasks and activities to make efficient use of time. Time management involves setting goals, creating schedules, and avoiding distractions to maximize productivity and achieve work-life balance.
  11. Delegation: This is the ability to assign tasks and responsibilities to others while maintaining accountability for outcomes. Delegation requires trust, effective communication, and matching tasks to individuals' skills and capabilities to empower teams and free up time.

What Are Some Hard Learned from a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership?

Given the above PhD organizational leadership soft skills, let’s look at how these might apply to some hard potential hard skills needed in the field. The hard skills you may hope to learn from a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership include:

  1. Public speaking: Gain proficiency in delivering speeches or presentations to audiences.
  2. Writing: This includes crafting clear, concise written communications such as emails, reports, and memos.
  3. Presentation design: This means the ability to create visually appealing and engaging presentations.
  4. Data analysis: You may be able to analyze and interpret data to extract meaningful insights.
  5. Statistical analysis: You likely will become proficient in statistical methods and tools for data analysis.
  6. Research methodology: You should gain an understanding of research techniques and methodologies for gathering and analyzing information.
  7. Decision-making frameworks: Obtain knowledge of structured approaches for making effective decisions.
  8. Strategic planning: Gain skills in developing long-term plans to achieve organizational goals.
  9. Market analysis: Have the ability to assess market trends and competitor strategies to inform business decisions.
  10. Financial modeling: Become proficient in creating mathematical representations of financial situations to support strategic planning.
  11. Project management: Become skilled in planning, executing, and managing projects to achieve specific objectives.
  12. Time management techniques: These strategies are necessary for optimizing personal and organizational time to maximize productivity.
  13. Database management: You should have a knowledge of database systems and tools for organizing and accessing data.
  14. Personality assessments: You will understand the tools and techniques for assessing individual personality traits and preferences.
  15. Time-tracking tools: You should be able to use software tools for monitoring and recording time spent on tasks and activities.
  16. Performance evaluation: These are the methods for assessing individual and team performance against predetermined goals and standards.

What Can I Do with a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership?

As with many advanced degrees, a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership could open up many career opportunities for you to consider. For instance, organizational leadership jobs range from business professor to training and development manager. With the diverse set of skills you can hope to gain throughout the program, you may be able to pursue a number of opportunities after completing the advanced degree. Let’s look at a few of these in more detail:

  1. Business professor: A business professor, according to O*Net Online, teaches business-related courses, conducts research, and mentors students to develop skills for success in the business world.
  2. Training and development manager: Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), a training and development manager designs and implements employee training programs to improve skills and performance within an organization.
  3. Chief diversity officer: The BLS depicts this and other top executive roles as leading diversity and inclusion efforts, fostering an inclusive workplace culture, and advocating for diversity in organizational practices.
  4. Program administrator: A program administrator, per Glassdoor, manages the planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs within an organization.
  5. Executive/career coaching: According to the National Institute of Health, executive/career coaching provides personalized guidance to individuals, helping them advance in their careers, develop leadership skills, and achieve personal and professional goals.
  6. Management consulting: Management consulting provides expert advice to organizations to improve performance and achieve goals through strategic planning and implementation.

Overview: What Can You Do with a PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership?

A PhD in Organizational Leadership is an advanced degree that offers many opportunities to dive deeper into understanding how organizations and their people work. Thanks to the broad set of soft and hard skills you can hope to gain throughout the program – namely communication, interpersonal, presentation, and other skills – you may be well prepared to consider a number of career paths and leadership roles upon completion of the program.

Search UAGC

Let us help.

Fill out this form to talk with an advisor.

Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.

Are you a member of the military?

We are currently not accepting new enrollments in the state of North Carolina.