What is a good contemporary and relevant management topic for a PhD?

I recently answered this question in Quora.

Every student wants to make sure their dissertation is relevant. And most of us would appreciate someone telling us what the best topic to pursue.

Unfortunately – actually, FORTUNATELY, that is not how it works. A dissertation topic is found when you find the intersection between what your advisor can help you with, things that can be published, and things that you can actually study (empirically).


My first thought when I read that question was “really, you think Quora will be able to tell you that? You might be doing the whole PhD thing wrong.” But instead, I decided to at least try to be helpful.

So, here is my answer.

If only the answer were simple… I would have my PhD right now!

The best way to figure our what is relevant in management is to read the academic management journals. Some of the top (A+) journals include:

  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Administrative Science Quarterly
  • Organization Science
  • Strategic Management Journal

As I prepared to find my dissertation topic, my advisor had me review the last five years of the journals I listed above. I blogged about it here:

If you have time, look through the abstracts of top journals. It will be very clear which topics are interesting to you and which ones are not.

As you read, you will also start noticing trends on what people are talking about. This can help you determine what is current and interesting.

Good luck!

What is a good contemporary and relevant management topic for a PhD?


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