Lisa Johnston O'Hara

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Associate Clinical Professor of Management and Organization

Department Management and Organization
Office Address 403 Business Building
Phone Number 814-865-1522
Email Address

Dr. O’Hara joined the faculty of the Smeal College of Business in 2011 as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Organization. Over the past ten years, she has designed and taught courses in human capital-related fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her expertise is applied to undergraduate Smeal courses in organizational behavior, human capital management, performance management and talent management; under her guidance, the management major with a human capital concentration has received and maintained recognition by the Society for Human Resource Management as a SHRM-aligned program. Prior to joining Penn State, Dr. O’Hara designed and taught classroom, on-line and hybrid courses in managerial communication, the Balanced Scorecard and HR Scorecard, and human resource management for undergraduate, MBA and MHRM students.

In addition to teaching, Dr. O’Hara enjoys collaboration with students and faculty through participation in several Smeal College committees and serves as faculty adviser and mentor to the Smeal Human Capital Student Consultants, Smeal LeaderSHIP, Professional Management Association, and the Pennharmonics.

Her professional and research interests include virtual community in the on-line teaching and learning space, outcomes and assessments in teaching and learning, performance management and employee coaching, and public speaking. She is certified in the use of DISCFlex by the International Coaching Federation and Indaba Global Coaching.

Dr. O’Hara lends her expertise to organizations in consulting roles, including the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as an assessment item developer, writer and editor for the Assurance of Learning, SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification exams. She also provides coaching consultations to individuals and organizations.

Prior to academia, Dr. O’Hara was employed in human capital positions in which she had responsibilities for organizational communications, strategy and alignment, recruiting, and training and development.


Ph D, Instructional Design & Technology (Training and Development, Communications), University of Pittsburgh, 2008

Courses Taught

MGMT 326 – Org Beh and Design (3)
Concepts, theories, and methods of managing people and designing organizations. MGMT 326 Organizational Behavior and Design (3) This introductory course covers the concepts, theories, and methods of managing people and designing organizations. Issues and challenges of managing at different organizational levels (individual, group, project, and total organization) are discussed and illustrated with real-world examples. Students learn about the latest means of designing high-performing organizations, including how to change an organization. This course will serve as a foundation for taking advanced management courses. The primary method of evaluation is an examination after each of the four major parts of the course, but class participation and short papers may also be used for evaluation.

MGMT 341 – Hum Rsrce Mgmt (3)
Decision making and analysis of major management problems that arise in the personnel functions of organizations, business firms, and government.

MGMT 441 – Org Staff and Dev (3)
Advanced treatment of human resource management issues that integrates theory and practice in strategic planning, staffing, development, appraisal, and rewards.

MGMT 420 – Neg Conflict Mgmt (3)
An exploration of the sources of interpersonal conflict and strategies of resolution in the managerial context.

MGMT 443 – Perform Mgmt (3)
This course focuses on skills and methods managers need to enhance the contribution of employees to organizational performance and effectiveness. MGMT 443 HRM Professional Seminar Part Two: Performance Management (3) The purpose of this course is to give students the skills and knowledge they need to enhance the contribution of employees to the performance and effectiveness of the organization. Students will learn technical and organizational aspects of performance planning, goal setting, performance and feedback, compensation and reward systems, incentive systems, high performance work organizational change, and the like. This course is normally taken in the second semester of the senior year. It builds on information introduced in MGMT 341 (Human Resources Management) and moves beyond survey-level material to more specialized knowledge and skill. The course is taken concurrently with MGMT 444 (HRM Practicum, Part Two) and is typically taken after students have completed MGMT 441 (HRM Proseminar, Part One) and MGMT 442 (HRM Practicum, Part One). These courses together constitute the core of the HRM Option for Management majors.

MBADM 816 – Manage Lead in Org (3)
Overview of human behavior in organizations, and implications for managing and leading individuals, teams, and organizations.This course provides an overview of the theories, concepts, applications, and research findings of human behavior in formal organizations and their implications for individual, team, and organizational performance. This study of organizational behavior and performance will take place at three levels of analysis: (1) The Individual in the Organization, including topics such as personality, attitudes, perception, and motivation; (2) Groups in Organizations, including group and team dynamics, influence and political behavior, negotiation, and managing conflict, and; (3) Organizational Processes, such as work design, behavior modification, communication, and decision making.

MGMT 496 – Independent Studies (3)
Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

PSU 006 – First-Year Seminar Business (1)
Facilitate student's adjustment to the high expectations, demanding workload, increased academic liberties, and other aspects of the transition to college life.

HRER 802 – Organizations in the Workplace (3)
This course provides students with an overview of selected managerial behavior and career topics in modern organizations.

MGMT 301 – Basic Management Concepts (3)
Study of fundamental principles and processes available to the understanding of management. Not available to students who have taken B A 304.

MGMT 100 – Survey of Management (3)
Introduction to organizational factors relevant to management processes, including leadership, motivation, job design, technology, organizational design and environments, systems, change. May not be used to satisfy Penn State Business baccalaureate degree

MGMT 445 – Managing Differences in Organizations (3)
This course focuses on developing knowledge and skills for dealing with demographic, functional, occupational and identity-based differences within and among organizations.


Performance Management: An Experiential Approach (Varma & Budhwar), Subject Matter Editor, June to August 2017
SME and reviewer for text slated for publication in 2018 from Sage Publications
Lussier and Hendon, Human Resource Management, Subject Matter Editor, October to December 2016
Reviewed Human Resource Management textbook for content and suggested updates for new edition.
SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Certification Exam, Subject Matter Editor, (, July 2014 - September 2015
Edited exam questions to support five areas of the Society for Human Resource Management's Body of Knowledge and Competencies.
SHRM Assurance of Learning Exam, Subject Matter Editor, (, October 2011 - April 2013
Reviewed and edited assessment items in eight subject areas for international exam certifying learning in an undergraduate human resource management curriculum.