A candidate for a Master’s in Organizational Behavior will have to complete a research project in the form of a thesis or a non-thesis capstone requirement. The difference between the two requirements will be in the presentation of the final requirement for graduation and how candidates prepare to complete this requirement. Since the field of organizational behavior is a multidisciplinary program that leads to various career pathways, it is important for students considering a master’s degree with this concentration to choose the most appropriate academic preparation for their intended career.

Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Organizational Behavior Degree Programs

Understanding Organizational Behavior

Corporate culture is specific to each company. Employees bring a unique skill set to their jobs along with their own personality, personal values, and belief systems. These beliefs will affect the way they interact in group settings with peers, managers, and customers. Organizational behavior examines how individuals interact in the work environment, how work processes affect employee behavior, and how to introduce greater cohesion in the workplace to enhance productivity and job satisfaction.

According to Investopedia, this field focuses on individuals and organizations to find ways to improve operational efficiency while ensuring that individual contributions are encouraged and rewarded. Organizational behavior uses concepts from the fields of psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, and social psychology. In today’s business environment, organizational behavior encompasses the study of issues such as gender bias, racial concerns, and the role of class structures in group dynamics. By necessity, the organizational behavior specialist needs to account for legislative initiatives and restrictions that may have an impact on employees and management interactions.

Thesis or Non-Thesis Master’s Program

Clearly, an advanced degree in organizational behavior will provide a greater understanding of workplace dynamics, which is a critical skill in human resources, personnel management, and staff mentorship programs. A master’s degree is usually the minimum requirement for a mid-level position in these fields.

To decide which program is better suited to one’s career direction, look beyond the master’s programs and the specialization pathways offered. For those intent on pursuing postgraduate studies in organizational behavior or a related doctorate study, the thesis program is definitely the better choice. This is because working on this master’s requirement will enhance research and writing skills that are crucial to success in a postgraduate programs. With a research project of this nature, graduates of a Master’s in Organizational Behavior program will be published in an industry journal, which is another requirement for a doctorate and post-doctorate program.

Organizational behavior specialists who intend to hone their skills and expertise through on-the-job opportunities may prefer the non-thesis program. The thrust of these programs will be providing comprehensive theoretical background that will be useful in the work setting. Non-thesis master’s programs will require more lab and lecture classes compared to more research projects and field studies for the other program. In both cases, candidates may be asked to prepare an oral defense for the final project.

Make sure to study the course offerings and the degree-fulfillment requirements closely to determine which program best aligns with your medium-term and long-term goals. For those who are interested in a career in organizational systems, a Master’s in Organizational Behavior may prove to be the key to a productive and lifelong career.