News, Presentations and Affiliations

2016 CASBS Summer Institute: Organizations and Their Effectiveness 

Organizations are all around us: not just firms, plants, and work groups, but also hospitals, schools, and governments. Furthermore, construing an “organization” as something that can be first organized and then managed, one can also include certain contractual relationships—not only between firms (such as some hand-in-glove supply relationships, joint ventures, and alliances) but also between a government and a firm (such as some regulatory relationships and public-private partnerships). Indeed, noting that the examples above are all opportunities to collaborate, one can move beyond formal organization charts and formal contracts to include communities, networks, and other informal institutions as organizations.

If organizational effectiveness is so important, one might think that academics would be studying the issue actively. To some extent, this is true, but the field is badly fragmented: different disciplines operate mostly in isolation; many professional schools focus on only their own kind of organization (e.g., hospitals, schools, public agencies); social science departments often regard organizational effectiveness as outside their purview; and doctoral training in professional schools often lacks the depth available in social-science departments. The collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of the CASBS Summer Institute, run by co-directors Bob Gibbons (MIT) and Woody Powell (Stanford), provides an important opportunity to integrate, broaden, and deepen the study of organizations and their effectiveness outside of such traditional methodological and institutional constraints.

Click here for the reading list for the two week workshop. To learn more: Stay tuned for information about applying for 2017.

Current Postdoctoral Fellows

Ling Han (Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, San Diego)

Jean Lin (Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago)

Sergiy Protsiv (Ph.D., Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Current Ph.D. Students on the Market

Angela Lu, Sociology
Jake Model, Organizational Behavior
Alison Wynn, Sociology


The Problem of Emergence (Watch YouTube Video – Click Here)

Why do life science cluster form in some regions and not others? University of Hamburg (Watch Video – Click Here)

Related Organizations and Partners

Santa Fe Institute

Social Science Research Council

Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society


Interesting Sites for News and Debates

Crooked Timber

Brain Pickings

Deliberately Considered

National Affairs, Kevin Lewis’s roundup of academic studies

Speaking Engagements, 2015-16

September 14, 12:00 pm – Uppsala University, Sweden

September 24, 12:30 pm – Department of Sociology Colloquium, Stanford University (more details here)

November 5, 5:00 pm – London School of Economics, public lecture (more details here)

November 6, 2:00 pm – University of Cambridge, Judge Institute

March 9, 4:00 pm – Culture and Social Analysis Workshop, Sociology Department, Harvard University

March 18, 11:00 am – Stanford Center at Peking University, Beijing

April 11, 12:00 pm – Conference on Knowledge and Technology Transfer, University of Kassel, Germany

April 27, 1:30-3:00 pm – Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles