Organizational Management Explored
Are you considering a degree in organizational management? Do you naturally gravitate towards the world of business and psychology? Trying to better your station in life with a credential that can help you reach important life goals?
If the answer is yes, this page is for you.
More and more, universities and colleges are offering organizational management (OM) as a degree option. And you know what?
Choosing an OM program is one of the smartest things you’ll ever do!
Folks, I’m not just saying that. As an educator and counselor, I regularly encourage students and clients to consider this type of credential.
I’ll explain why in just a soon.
In this article, you will learn:
- The definition of organizational management
- How this degree can be used
- Career implications
- Pros and Cons of degree
- Educational options
- Quick FAQ
Right out of the gate, you are probably wondering what qualifies me to suggest this type of program to you. Shoot, I’d want to know if I were reading this.
I’ll tell you straight out.
Years before I entered the world of psychology and academia, I worked in the corporate sector. Examples include companies like IBM, Verizon, and American Airlines.
Yes, I have a doctorate in psychology. But I also hold an MBA and a bachelor’s degree is in business management. I use these credentials every day in the work I do as a career coach and educator.
I’m mentioning this because several times a month, I am approached by students and clients who ask me: What’s a good undergraduate specialization for someone who isn’t sure what they want to do?
My response, almost always, is organizational management.
Let’s talk about what OM means and then move about the business of exploring how this type of degree can be used. I’ve tried to keep the material as simple as possible.
Oh, and super quick – you need to know that I am not getting paid from any school for writing about this degree. In fact, if one did approach me to promote, the answer would be no.
Second, I obviously can’t make any promises about what will happen should you choose to earn an OM degree. All I can do is give you my opinion and let you decide.
OK, check it out.
Definition of Organizational Management?
Organizational management in the world of business involves five unique parts. These include:
I am going to break each area down so that they make more sense. While reading this, it’s important to contextualize things through the lens of business (DuBrin, 2008).
Doing so will help you keep your mental frame. That’s a $10.00 word for having the right mindset.
When you hear the word planning in the context of OM, think goal setting. This means determining where a company wants to go and then creating a plan to make it happen.
Part of this involves knowing what resources (funding) is available. Inventory control is also part of the dynamic. But a major aspect of planning involves human capital (aka people).
Example: You work for a major grocery store chain. As the newly hired regional manager of Pacific operations, the CEO asks that you create a plan for opening two stores in California.
To create the plan, you’ll need to know your budget. You’ll also need to buy (or rent) space. Finally, you’ll have to determine what jobs need to be filled (staffing).
There are many other things that need to occur as well that touch upon regulations, laws, and so forth. I recognize this was a quick and dirty overview of planning but at least have a better idea now.
In business, organizing simply means obtaining, maintaining, and expending resources in the wisest way possible to maximize profits.
An example might be putting together an annual budget for a department. Organizing could also involve helping to conceptualize and execute a marketing plan to increase customer sales.
Example: As division vice-president of an insurance company, your area needs to hire two e-commerce specialists to handle customer inquiries. You’ll need to create a budget to compensate. You’ll also need to coordinate with human resources to recruit the right talent.
As you might have guessed, organizing and planning sometimes blur lines.
A critical part of the OM dynamic is leading. We could spend forever and a day talking about all the different leadership theories but for our purposes, let’s stick to the basics.
Leading simply means connecting with employees and inspiring them to reach organizational objectives (goals).
While motivation is part of the process (see next OM attribute), leadership also involves ethical behavior, messaging, and setting the organizational culture.
What people often confuse are the terms management and leadership. While they share similar qualities, they aren’t the same. To learn more, see this post on the differences between manager vs. leader.
Obviously, there’s much more to leadership than what I’ve mentioned here but this page would never end if I listed out every single aspect. I’m pretty sure you get the point.
This part of OM is what it sounds like; inspiring people to act in ways that help an organization reach goals. It goes without saying that to motivate, one must lead.
The question is what works for motivation. Is being charismatic and charming enough? Or does it take something more concrete, like financial incentives, to move employees to action?
Just food for thought because these are the types of questions you will explore in an OM program – and as a professional working in the real world.
When you hear the term controlling, think administrative work. Yep, boring stuff. Examples include financial statements, labor reports, regulatory issues, and resource management.
I really shouldn’t say boring because, for some folks, these types of activities are interesting. Still, controlling is less focused on people and more concerned with digits.
Business Management Video
I have posted a video below that will help us pivot from theoretical constructs to real-world application of a business focused credential, like OM.
Use of an Organizational Management Degree
I’m betting this is the part you’ve been waiting for so let’s get right to it.
If you choose to earn a degree (graduate or undergraduate) with a specialization in organizational management, you’ll open the door to many job opportunities.
Moreover, at the undergraduate level, this is an excellent credential that offers a broad-based platform from which to move forward. Now granted, the degree itself is focused on business. But don’t let that term “business” fool you.
That’s because almost every sector of the marketplace pulls on the five OM features I previously described.
Here are just a few of the job areas where an OM degree can be used.
- Human Resources
- Organizational Psychology (business psychology)
- General Business
- Business Management
- Business Coaching
- Sports Management
- Health Science Administration
- Non-Profit Work
- Operations Management
- Organizational Effectiveness
- Business Administration
Honestly, I could go on with even more but just from the list above, you can see how this degree can fit into different career areas.
You may wonder how an OM degree differs from a management or business degree? The answer is simple: an OM degree is a hybrid of both worlds combined into one.
As mentioned above, you have many different opportunities to apply this type of degree. Because I don’t know exactly what area of work you are trying to obtain or qualify for, it’s easier for me to shoot you over to the online Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).
The OOH is a U.S. Government run entity that houses tons of material on career options, skill sets, required credentials, and salaries. The best part is it’s completely free!
Here is the link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook in management.
Notice how many career areas are listed, the entry-level credential required, and the money that can be expected/earned. Isn’t that website cool?
But here’s the thing – a degree in OM is a powerful degree that can help you qualify for many of those jobs.
Here’s a well-kept secret.
Employers will often state they want a bachelor’s in a specific area. Examples include management, sales or human resources. But if you keep reading the job descriptions, they usually toss in language that reads: or a related area.
With OM, you have that “related area” thing covered in spades! That’s why I said at the start of this page that this degree has a high amount of utility.
Example: You want to go into human resources? This degree can help get you there. Hoping to become a business executive? An OM degree is an excellent choice. Want to get involved with pharmaceutical sales or operations? Bingo – OM is a smart choice.
In the career coaching I do with students and clients, I always encourage them to think of earning a credential that can be widely applied.
You’ve likely heard the following axiom: Cast with a wide net.
In the context of what we’re exploring, OM is the “wide net” to land jobs. Make sense?
Pros of Organizational Management Degree
There are more benefits to holding this credential than I can shake a stick act. I’m quickly going to list out some of the “biggies”.
- Job growth in the business/management sector is expected to expand at a rate of 9% a year per Bureau of Labor Statistics (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016).
- Having a graduate OM degree may help persons serving in the armed forces qualify for advancement.
- An OM credential at both the undergraduate and graduate level can expose the person to job opportunities because of its high degree of utility.
- Employers like to hire people who have a varied background with a credential that has different forms of application.
Cons of Organizational Management Degree
Having this type of credential in your back pocket can be an immense help to your career. That said, it’s not for everyone and I’d be a liar if I tried to pretend otherwise. Let’s look at some of the cons:
- For people trying to get into a specialized profession, this degree may not be the best fit. Example: You want to become a veterinarian.
- The credential isn’t heavy on finance, which may not be helpful for folks wanting to become an accountant. The credential does, however, expose a person to financial and economic theory.
- Some management jobs require a specific type of graduate degree with specialized credentialing. Example: A healthcare company is recruiting for an executive position and wants to hire only a person with an MBA in Finance that is accredited by AACSB.
- A graduate degree in OM may or may not allow you to teach college courses at the community college level. You will need to check with a potential employer about how many graduate credit hours are required in each content area.
Higher Education and Organizational Management
One area I’d like to touch on is using this credential to further your education at the graduate level. I’ll walk through this at light speed.
It’s like this – if you hold an undergraduate degree in OM, like a bachelor, you will likely be able to use this credential to get into a number of master’s level programs.
Obviously, you will need to check with each school. That said, here are just some of the masters programs I’ve seen people qualify for.
- Masters in Psychology
- Master of Business Administration
- Masters in Criminal Justice
- Masters in Human Resources Management
- Masters in Organizational Behavior
- Masters in Organizational Management
- Masters in Transportation Logistics
- Masters in Health Sciences Administration
- Masters in Transportation Logistics
- Masters in Non-Profit Work
- Masters in Organizational Development
- Masters in Communication
- Masters in Leadership
- Masters in Community Health
- Masters in Mental Health Counseling
- Masters in Education
- Masters in Cultural Studies
- Masters in Sports Management
I could go on and on here but you can see from the list above, there’s a lot of potential opportunities.
One caveat: some of the graduate programs may require that you have certain courses at the undergraduate level under your belt. You will want to check with each school to find out more.
Below, I am going to list out several frequently asked questions that I get from folks about this credential. I’ll share with you exactly how I respond.
Does accreditation matter?
Yes – it does. At the very least, you’ll want a degree that has accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. See this PDF file via hyperlink to learn more.
That said, I highly encourage you to enroll in a program that is regionally accredited. This is considered the gold standard in most all situations. Moreover, degrees granted from regionally accredited universities have the best opportunity to transfer credits.
Can you earn this degree online?
Yes – you can. In fact, many colleges and universities offer this credential 100% online. Nowadays, even the traditional brick and mortar schools have opened programs that can be completed mostly (if not exclusively) via the Internet.
Do you recommend any schools?
Your best bet is to do your homework and look around. It’s my opinion (others may disagree) that at the undergraduate level, the pedigree of the school doesn’t matter all that much.
What does matter is if the university is regionally accredited.
What do employers look for when hiring?
At the graduate level, the pedigree may matter. It just depends. I can tell you that more than anything, employers like to hire people who have real-world experience.
Example: You’ve been in the military 10-years and have experience leading and managing others. You earn a master’s in OM at a regionally accredited school.
Chances are, the hiring manager is going look at your experience first and the credential next.
In this way, the degree acts as a ticket to the show. You need it to get the job. But it’s really your work experience that propels you into the job.
So, what if you don’t have a lot of work experience?
It’s simple. If you are new to the workplace and trying to gain a corporate position, employers are going to look for exposure to business management.
That exposure happens as a result of earning the OM credential.
Yes, there are going to be some companies who will only hire candidates from top-tier schools. You may have to factor that into your decision-making dynamic.
That said, in my experience, the vast majority of employers just want to see you have a business/management related degree.
Where Can I Learn More?
You’ll find lots of resources online about college degree programs. If you are looking to earn your credential via distance education, you can check out the Degree Info Forum.
There are also many books on the topic. One of my favorites is Business Week’s Guide To the Best Schools, available on Amazon.
Bringing It All Together
I can honestly say that choosing a specialization in organizational management is a smart choice. Obviously, much depends on the type of work you want to do.
But if you are looking for a credential with a high degree of utility, OM may be exactly what you need!
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found the material shared here useful!
DuBrin, A. (2008). Applying psychology and individual organizational effectiveness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2016). Management Occupations. Retrieved from United States Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/