Focus in Behavioral Science

The specialization in Behavioral Science of the Ph.D. in Management Programme (PMA) is concerned with the scientific investigation of behavior in organizations and beyond. Track-specific courses are conducted primarily in English.

Research in the field of the behavioral science track is oriented by the following overarching objectives:

The doctoral program in behavioral science aims at providing students with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary education that equips them to independently succeed in a range of academic and industry careers where they can apply their deep understanding of human behavior. Those pursuing academic careers may secure tenure-track positions at leading research universities or gain additional research experience through postdoctoral fellowships. For those pursuing industry careers, opportunities include innovative roles in management and strategy consulting, data science and business intelligence, marketing analytics and customer insights, as well as leading quantitative roles in UX research. In particular, the behavioral science track will prepare entrepreneurs and innovators to perform, data and evidence-based management and to develop product and service propositions with a human-centered approach. 


Prospective Ph.D. Students with a specialization in the behavioral science track distinguish themselves ideally with the following profile:

Prospective Ph.D. students must meet the general requirements of the PMA, but can have a range of backgrounds. Some candidates might have a master's degree in in a behavior-focused field (e.g., psychology, communication, cognitive science) or a touchpoint with the empirical study of human behavior (e.g., management, marketing, economics, finance, data science). Importantly, candidates should be genuinely interested to investigate, understand, and change human behavior from a multidisciplinary angle and a management perspective. Working experience can be helpful component but is not a formally required.
Most PMA-BS courses will be offered in English, hence command of the English language is required. Additionally, it can be helpful for candidates to have passive knowledge in German. 


Among others, the following scientific theoretical approaches and practical procedures are relevant in the behavioral science track:

Most dissertations in behavioral science are of quantitative empirical nature– reflecting the foundational principles of behavioral science. Human behavior is determined by multiple factors of a person and their environments. Hence, to investigate, understand, and predict human behavior in management, interdisciplinary perspectives and a multi-methodological approach from multiple domains are essential.
According to the tradition of the research field as well as the orientation of the supervisor, a wide range of methods may be used including experimental research, online data processes, machine learning, behavioral analytics, mobile sensing, or unstructured data analytics.



Out of the two compulsory courses, at least one of the specialization-specific courses must be attended. The second compulsory course may also be selected from the set of compulsory courses of other tracks of the PMA. In addition to some specialization specific method courses, the empirical research method courses of the Global School in Empirical Research Methods (GSERM) are recommended.



Rynes, S. L., & Trank, C. Q. (1999). Behavioral Science in the Business School Curriculum: Teaching in a Changing Institutional Environment. Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 808–824.

Hirsch, P. B. (2021). Beyond the first nudge: Behavioral science in corporate practice. Journal of Business Strategy, 42(3), 215–218.

Chase, R. B., & Dasu, S. (2001). Want to perfect your company’s service? Use behavioral science. Harvard Business Review, 79(6), 78–84, 147.

Hallsworth, M. (2023). A manifesto for applying behavioural science. Nature Human Behaviour, 7(3), Article 3.

Climate change and human behaviour. (2022). Nature Human Behaviour, 6(11), Article 11.

P Lorenz-Spreen, S. L., CR Sunstein, R. Hertwig. (2020). How behavioural sciences can promote truth, autonomy and democratic discourse online. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(11), 1102–1109.

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Clemens Stachl

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