Doctor of Philosophy
Leadership & Human Resource Development

The Leadership & Human Resource Development (LHRD) PhD offers a research-oriented, broad-based program of study that can be modified to fit student interests. The program is strongly grounded in leadership, human resource and organization development, and change management theory. The curriculum is focused on foundational and advanced theory and evidence-based practice to ensure relevance in today's challenging organizational environments.

Because human resource, organization and leadership development are applied fields, the goal of the PhD program is to develop highly skilled and innovative researchers and scholar-practitioners. This effectively prepares students for a wide range of careers ranging from academicians at leading educational institutions, professional consultants, human resource and organization development leaders, and other careers in which advanced research, analytical, and organization change capabilities are required. Recent alumni are employed as tenured or tenure-track faculty, organizational change agents, workforce development consultants, and human resource development/training and development directors.


Students in the LHRD PhD program are, prior to graduation, expected to:

  • Achieve a broad understanding of the scholarly literature cross-cutting human resource development, leadership, and organizational development.
  • Develop and communicate logical and coherent scholarly arguments through the critique of theory, research, and practice.
  • Synthesize ideas and integrate theory, research findings, and practice from past and current publications.
  • Demonstrate graduate-level writing skills including the appropriate use of primary and secondary resources, scholarly language, and the logical flow and sequencing of ideas.
  • Understand diverse cultural world views and epistemologies and the social justice implications of knowledge, theory and practice.
  • Distinguish different research methods and demonstrate foundational knowledge of social science analytics and a depth of knowledge in one or more quantitative or qualitative methods consistent with the student's dissertation research.
  • Indicate the strengths and weaknesses of various research strategies and be able to connect various research methods to different research objectives and questions.
  • Connect the results of dissertation research to other relevant research and theory.
  • Reflect on and develop applied practice skills in light of relevant theory and research.

Faculty teaching in the LHRD program have wide and varied research interests including topics such as organizational leadership, multilevel analysis and social network modeling of person-environment interactions in organizations; responses to large-scale organizational change; workforce aging; change reactions to workplace disasters; training effectiveness and learning transfer in the workplace; talent development systems; program monitoring and evaluation; organizational culture and workplace learning; knowledge sharing; instructional technology; colorism and diversity in organizations; and social justice in education across institutional types.

Doctoral training involves close collaboration with faculty members on shared research interests, coursework in human resource development, organization development and change, leadership and leadership development, and independent research activities. Students are encouraged to co-design their program of study in consultation with a faculty mentor in ways that are personally meaningful and which optimize student goals. For the dissertation, students collaborate with a faculty mentor to co-design a study that is often groundbreaking and which advances knowledge and science in a particular area of interest. The following is a partial list of dissertation research conducted by our PhD graduates:

  • Self-direction in adult learning: Effect of locus of control and program design on learner motivation and training utility.
  • Toward construct validation of the Louisiana School Analysis Model Instructional Staff Questionnaire.
  • Construct validation of an Arabic version of the Learning Transfer Systems Inventory for use in Jordan.
  • Contributors to an enterprising sex: Examining the influence of creativity on entrepreneurial intentions and the moderating role of political skill controlling for gender.
  • Dispositional influences on the intent to transfer learning: A test of a structural equation model.
  • Workforce implications for hurricane affected Gulf Coast region industrial companies.
  • A test of andragogy in a post-secondary educational setting.
  • A theory of effective computer-based instruction for adults.
  • Cross-cultural construct validation of the Learning Transfer System Inventory in Taiwan.
  • The effectiveness of managerial leadership development programs: A meta-analysis of studies.
  • Cognitive complexity, transformational leadership, and organizational outcomes.
  • The early identification of business leaders: The development and validation of a leadership potential instrument.

Frequently Asked Questions concerning the LHRD PhD Program