The origins of today's Institute for Organization Science date back to 1973, when Gerhard Reber was appointed from Mannheim to chair the new Institute of Organizational Behavior at the JKU's Faculty of Social Sciences, Economics & Business. The institute expanded into three main areas of research: Organizational Behavior (Gerhard Reber), Human Resource Management (Wolf Böhnisch), and International Management (Lars Hakanson), taking on the name Institute for Corporate Management.
As a result of the 2002 Universities Act, independent institutes were created based on the research foci and consequently, the Institute of Organization returned to its original name. Following Gerhard Reber's retirement in 2005, Peter Eberl (Freie Universität Berlin) served as head of the institute between 2007 and 2008, followed by Giuseppe Delmestri (Bergamo University) between 2011 and 2015. The Institute for Organization and Global Management Studies came about in an effort to more visibly support managing international exchange programs at the institute.
The institute has been chaired by Elke Schüßler (Freie Universität Berlin) since May of 2016. The international programs were structurally revised, resulting in reintroducing the institute’s original name, the Institute for Organization Sciences.
The institute's primary focus has always been to extend its horizons beyond national borders, exploring and learning more about other cultures. This is documented by active international student and faculty exchange as well as extensive educational collaboration with international partners in the areas of research and teaching.