Organizational Learning and Leadership

  • Program Overview

    The Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Learning and Leadership is an interdisciplinary program devoted to theory and research in the areas of leadership and organizational studies. As such, the program prepares students to identify, analyze, and affect myriad issues underlying organizational processes and the dynamics of leadership. Program participants are provided with the conceptual and analytic means necessary to work effectively in a diverse range of social organizations spanning the corporate, non-profit, entrepreneurial, education, higher education, health care, religious and civic communities. 

    The Ph.D. is an academically rigorous program designed to accommodate the schedules of full-time working professionals. Courses are held on nights and weekends, with students progressing as a cohort through a prescribed sequence of courses that includes summer instruction. The program utilizes a combination of classroom seminar, a minimum number of hybrid courses, and the possibility of independent study to integrate intellectual content with students’ professional experiences and individual aspirations. Students and faculty share responsibility for providing contributions that enhance the quality of the learning environment for everyone. 

    Curricular requirements for the Organizational Learning and Leadership Program includes three components: 1) Multidisciplinary Theory and Research Core, 2) Individualized Foundations and 3) Doctoral Dissertation. The Multidisciplinary Theory and Research Core (42 credits) consists of coursework covering theory, research and practice pertaining to leadership and organizational studies supported by a sequence of courses devoted to social research methods and statistics. The Individualized Foundations (18 credits) component is a combination of transfer credits, elective courses and/or independent study germane to leadership, learning, and social organizations that is tailored to a student’s professional orientation and aspirations. The Doctoral Dissertation (6 credits) consists of a supervised research project carried out under a faculty advisor after completing core degree requirements. . 

    Course work contained in the Multidisciplinary Theory and Research Core is typically completed over a three year period of continuous enrollment, taking two courses in each of the Fall and Spring semesters and either one or two courses during the summer (see typical course sequence outlined below). Core courses must be completed before commencing Doctoral Dissertation credits. Courses satisfying the Individualized Foundations may be completed prior to, or concurrent with, other required coursework, as outlined in each student’s Individualized Curriculum Plan. A student’s Individualized Curriculum Plan (ICP) is developed within the first year of admission, in consultation with the Program Director, to provide a roadmap for completing the OLL degree program tailored to a student’s professional aspirations and personal circumstances. The ICP provides a basis for ongoing communication about a student’s evolving professional identity, personal circumstances, and progress toward achieving aspirational goals. Modifications to the ICP may be made as necessary throughout a student’s course of study in consultation with the Program Director. 


    Program Options

    • Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Learning and Leadership


    Courses in the Multidisciplinary Theory and Research Core are taken in a prescribed order determined by the Program Director for each cohort. Students unable to maintain pace with their cohort due to either academic or personal factors must meet with the Program Director to amend their Individualized Curriculum Plan (ICP) to reflect and an alternate course sequence for fulfilling Core requirements that satisfies established pre-requisites. Students unable to maintain a two-course per semester pace may also approach the Program Director to work out an alternate course sequence for fulfilling Core requirements. Under no circumstances will an amended course sequence extend the 7 year statute of limitations governing the completion of graduate degrees at Gannon University. 

    Multidisciplinary Theory Core (27 credits) 


    • GOLL 801 Advanced Organizational Theory (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 802 Advanced Leadership Theory (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 811 Psychosocial Dimensions of Leadership (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 812 Organizational Analysis: Structure and Design (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 813 Case Analysis of a Learning Group (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 814 Leading Organizational Culture and Change (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 815 Quality Management and the Learning Organization (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 816 Developing Leadership Capacity (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 817 Global Perspectives on Learning and Leadership (3 credits) 


    Research Core (15 credits) 


    • GOLL 818 Doctoral Statistics I (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 819 Doctoral Statistics II (3 credits) 
    • GOLL 821 Research Methods I (2 credits) 
    • GOLL 822 Research Methods II (2 credits) 
    • GOLL 823 Research Methods III (2 credits) 
    • GOLL 896 Dissertation Seminar I (1 credit) 
    • GOLL 897 Dissertation Seminar II (1 credit) 
    • GOLL 898 Dissertation Seminar III (1 credit) 


    Requirements for the Individualized Foundations may be satisfied through a combination of transfer credits and/or courses taken concurrently while completing the Multidisciplinary Core or Doctoral Dissertation components of the program. Courses satisfying the Foundations requirement must be taken at the masters level or above. Qualifying courses are selected to satisfy the following content specifications: 

    • Learning (6 credits) - This set of coursework focuses on learning theory and factors affecting the dynamics of organizational learning, including curriculum and instruction, training and development, needs assessment, human resource management, research and evaluation methodologies, quality management, and processes of learning, and human development. 
    • Leadership (6 credits) - This set of coursework focuses on leadership theory and factors affecting the dynamics of organizational leadership including organizational behavior, context, change, culture and issues of organizational ethics and globalization.
    • Cognates (6 credits) - This includes post-masters course work relevant to the student’s career plans or dissertation, including pre-requisite Graduate Statistics (GEDU600) and Directed Readings (GOLL799) taken with a student’s dissertation advisor. 

    * Transfer courses for the Individual Foundations cannot exceed 15 credits. Foundations courses to be taken after beginning the Multidisciplinary Theory and Research Core, whether at Gannon or another college/university must be selected in consultation with the Program Director. 

    After completing all courses in the Multidimensional Theory and Research Core, students must register for a minimum of one (1) credit of dissertation with their selected faculty advisor in each ensuing Fall and Spring semester until satisfying the dissertation requirement. Summer registration is only required if a student is actively working with their faculty advisor during the summer months. A minimum of 6 credits of dissertation credits are required, which may be stretched over a period of 6 years. Additional dissertation credits are required only if a student has not completed the dissertation, or other requirements for graduation, and wishes to maintain their status in the OLL program until the 7 year limit is reached, in order to satisfy outstanding requirements for graduation. Students wishing to gain more focused attention from their advisor while concentrating on the literature review portion of their dissertation may substitute one section of GOLL799 Directed Readings for up to 3 credits of dissertation, with permission of the Program Director. 

    GOLL 899 Dissertation (1-3 credits)