// Assistant Professor of Social Innovation • emlyon
// Ph.D. in Sociology • Stanford
// Organizations are a major driver of institutional change and sites of actions that structure and shape cities, nations, and markets. My research explores the reciprocal relationship between organizations and society, particularly in the contexts of social innovation, the civic life of cities, and the digital transformation of the economy.
// I am an organizational sociologist and an Assistant Professor of Social Innovation at emlyon Business School. I am a senior research fellow at the Civic Life of Cities Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and the Research Institute of Urban Management and Governance at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Previously, I was a postdoctoral scholar in sociology at the University of Chicago's Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. I studied nonprofit management and innovation at WU Vienna (B.Sc.), organizational and economic sociology at Stanford (Ph.D. in sociology), and urban sociology at the University of Chicago (postdoc). I contribute to ASA, EGOS, AoM, SASE, and ARNOVA.
RESEARCH & INTERESTS
// I study the interplay between pro-social organizations and urban communities, the environment, and the economy. My empirical research examines how rational, economic principles of organizing enter and alter fields where social and democratic values loom large. This work is theoretically grounded in sociological institutionalism, which understand organizations' behavior as co-evolving with their external social and cultural environment. Methodologically, I combine quantitative, comparative analyses of many organizations with specific knowledge of the cases I study. This sometimes takes me into the domains of qualitative interviews, experiments, and computational social science (specifically quantitative text analysis). I am excited about building original datasets from scratch to test my arguments.
MANAGERIAL AND DIGITAL CHANGE AMONG NONPROFITS
// Performance-oriented management practices and professionalism have spread from businesses to nonprofit organizations. I am interested in contradictions resulting from what Max Weber described as the "disenchantment of the world," and how rational practices are actually implemented in value-oriented organizations and communities. I have examined these questions as part of the Civic Life of Cities Lab. Related work is published in NVSQ, Voluntas, and a Special Collection of papers published in Global Perspectives.
CITIES AND THEIR ORGANIZATION(S)
// In the 21st century, cities bear unprecedented responsibility for fixing socio-economic inequality, building resilience to crises, and mitigating climate change. My dissertation, Cities in Action, explored how organizational infrastructures (e.g., nonprofits, businesses, and movements) and macro-institutional influences (e.g., inter-city associations and networks) shape the local capacity to act strategically and innovatively in the context of cities' climate change strategies. Cities in Action is under advance contract at Columbia University Press. Related work is published or forthcoming in the American Journal of Sociology, Urban Studies, Organization Studies, and ARPA.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND ORGANIZATIONAL EVALUATION
// One of the most important contemporary transformations in the institutional environment of organizations is the rise of accountability and evaluation mechanisms that expose organizations to external scrutiny. I study how organizations respond to evaluation, especially when their constituencies disagree about what matters for success. And I am curious about how open practices interact with established bureacratic structures, which are by definition averse to the public. Related work is published in Sociological Theory and the Socio-Economic Review.
TEACHING & PASSIONS
SOCIAL INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
CITIES, COMMUNITIES, &
RESEARCH DESIGN AND QUANTITATIVE METHODS
// How can we leverage the power of organizational forms located on the spectrum between traditional for-profit corporations and nonprofit associations to tackle social and environmental problems? At emlyon, I teach classes on these topics, including the foundations of social innovation as well as applied problems of social entrepreneurship.
// How do organizations affect urban communities and vice versa? I deepened this question at the Mansueto Institute of Urban Innovation, where the emerging field of urban science meets the foundations of urban sociology. These issues converge nicely with my passion for civil society and philanthropy as sources of social innovation, a topic debated vigorously at Stanford PACS.
// At emlyon, I teach an applied research design class for master's students. At Stanford, I offered statistical software consulting for undergraduate and graduate students. I have an avid interest in using and teaching cutting-edge methods, from computational text analysis in historical analyses to online experiments for pinning down causal mechanisms.
// I am grateful for my collaborators in both the U.S. and Europe. If you are looking for a reference, these people can probably tell you all about me. Walter W. Powell and Aaron Horvath (and many others) are my collaborators on the Civic Life of Cities. At Stanford, I have also worked with Patricia Bromley, Michelle Jackson, and Cristobal Young, among others. Outside Stanford, I have worked with Markus Höllerer (WU, UNSW), Martin Kornberger (University of Edinburgh), Renate E. Meyer (WU, CBS), David Suárez (U of Washington), Amanda Sharkey (University of Chicago Booth), and Patrick Bergemann (UC Irvine). With Juan Pedroza I have once submitted a tiramisu titled Problem of Embreadedness to Stanford's annual dessert competition.
// The people who told me to finish my dissertation are Walter W. Powell (Stanford GSE, chair), Xueguang Zhou (Stanford Sociology), and Sarah A. Soule (Stanford GSB).