This course explores the philosophy of science, different modes of inquiry that exist, and various epistemological perspectives including positivist, interpretativist, and critical research. Concepts of rigor and relevance are discussed along with implications for conducting research that can inform practice. The course also serves to provide an overview and roadmap of the EDB research process. Understanding the research process and identifying a personal research domain is a critical first step toward transforming oneself from a practitioner to a practitioner-scholar. Within that context, one of the chief aims of the course is helping students to identify and develop a personal research domain that will sustain their interest through the duration of the EDB program. Students will gain the skills needed to conduct a literature review and to conceptualize an issue or research question that resonates with practitioners. Inductive, interpretive modes of research will be introduced.

Students develop an understanding about developing theory and about its critical role in surfacing a theoretical contribution. They understand the distinction between identifying a business problem and a scientific problem, and the approaches to achieve rigor and relevance. They learn about the key elements of a theory and the approaches to build a theory. They understand the distinctions between process and variance models and among the different types of process and variance models, and also develop the understanding of how to achieve correspondence between theoretical arguments and the specification of the model and its underlying components including the types of constructs and the functional form of the relationships. They develop an understanding about how to leverage context and time in the theory building process, and also about the roles of multi-dimensional constructs and multi-level models in theory development. Cumulatively, they develop the skills and understanding to formulate a research question, synthesize the relevant literatures, build a theory, and specify a model and to achieve correspondence between these essential elements.

Directed Readings for PhD students in (i) latest research methods (e.g., network analysis, text mining of user generated content, randomized online experiments) and (ii) phenomena/problems and  interdisciplinary theories related to digital innovation in business and society.

Students develop the ability to diagnose and analyze problems, and develop and implement improvement and innovation initiatives for enterprise and inter-enterprise processes. They apply complementary approaches to establish quality goals and an organizational system to achieve these goals, to measure quality performance, and to control process variation. They determine process requirements and develop designs for manufacturing and service processes, including self-service operations. They evaluate the performance implications of information sharing practices and allocation of decision rights in inter-enterprise processes. They also examine how information can be leveraged for physical and financial flows across multi-tiered supply networks, and how these networks should be designed to be responsive to supply and demand uncertainty.

Students develop the ability to conceptualize, design, and implement supply chains aligned with product, market, and customer characteristics. Business competition is now between supply networks rather than individual corporations. Managing the flow of products, information, and revenue across supply chains differentiates the ability of supply networks to fulfill customer needs. Students develop the ability to evaluate how information flows can substitute for the stock of physical resources, such as inventory, and why such systems succeed or fail. They assess how internet technologies, dynamic markets, and globalization are impacting supply chain strategies and practices, including logistics, digital coordination of decisions and resources, inventory and risk management, procurement and supply contracting, product and process design, and revenue management.