Faculty Co-Director - Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, Communication, and Public Policy, Stanford University
External Faculty Member, Santa Fe Institute
Seminar on Organizational Theory
Sociology 363A/ Education 375A/ MSE 389
This course is taught annually in the fall. It is a Ph.D. seminar designed to introduce students to fundamental questions about, and approaches to, the study of organizations. The goal is to provide students with a thorough grounding in the social science literature on organizations. Students will gain familiarity with the major theoretical and empirical traditions in organization theory. The readings are organized historically. This will enable students to understand the intellectual development of organization theory and the various shifts in emphasis: from workers to managers, from organizational processes to outputs, from studies of a single organization and its environment to studies of populations of organizations and organizational fields. In addition to the conceptual readings, the early weeks of the course are supplemented with historical materials that supply a social context for understanding the theoretical developments.
The course is not open to master’s students. First year Ph.D. students without any prior background in the social sciences may want to wait until their second year before taking this course. If there are more than 16 students who wish to enroll, priority will be given to advanced students over first-year students. Read the syllabus.
Comparing Institutional Forms: Public, Private and Non-profit
Education 377/ GSB 346/ Pub Pol 317/ Soc 377
The aim of the course is to offer greater insight into how nonprofit, private and public organizations differ in terms of their goals and capabilities. Primary attention is directed to the role of nonprofit organizations and their distinctive missions and strategies. In particular, we examine the “nondistribution constraint” and how it shapes the purpose and behavior of nonprofits. We focus on a variety of fields – health care, social services, culture, higher education – where there is substantial competition and overlap among organizations from different sectors. We read some of the key theoretical treatments regarding the choice of institutional form, as well as recent research and cases. Students will learn through readings, class discussion, and development of a research paper that addresses questions of institutional form and organizational performance. The course is designed for masters’ students from SUSE, GSB and Public Policy, as well as Ph.D. students and undergraduates with an interest in nonprofits. Some masters’ students have found this to be a challenging course because of the readings and level of abstraction. If you are looking for an easy elective, this is not the course for you. If you are genuinely interested in the nonprofit and public sectors, then the effort you put in will be rewarded. Read the syllabus.
Seminar on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Educ 374/ PoliSci 334/ Soc 374
This is a year-long course, associated with the Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). This seminar is intended for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows doing research on the nature and ramifications of civil society and/or the effects of philanthropy on civil society, either domestically or globally. The course is also open to advanced undergraduates writing senior theses on these topics. The purpose of the seminar is to assist students in pursuing their research and writing. We accomplish this through several means. All members of the seminar will have an opportunity to present their work at least once during the year. Faculty and students will lead discussions of recent writings that form the corpus of scholarly knowledge of civil society, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector. Students will circulate drafts of chapters, papers, and/or proposals and get feedback from faculty and fellow students. We will also have several leading scholars and practitioners visit us for talks during the latter part of the academic year, and students will have ample opportunity to interact with these guests.
Our aim is to help students produce high-quality work that will have an impact on their respective disciplines and shape the scholarly terrain of research on civil society, philanthropy, and nonprofits. Our expectation is that all participants will take the course for the full year; exceptions are allowed only with permission. The course may be taken more than once, and for 1-3 units. Grading is on a pass/fail basis. Rob Reich, Political Science, teaches this course with me. Other faculty members, including Paul Brest and Johanna Mair, participate as well. Read the syllabus.
SCANCOR workshop on Institutional Theory.
For the past decade, a group of U.S. faculty that work in the area of institutional analysis have offered an intensive week-long seminar, together with European scholars. In recent years, we have held the workshop at Copenhagen Business School, Aalto University, IESE-Barcelona, and the University of Mannheim. In 2012 we will be at WU-Vienna. For more information, please consult the Scancor webpage.
© 2013 Woody Powell | Stanford University