Professor of Sociology, Organizational Behavior,
Management Science and Engineering, and Communication (by courtesy)
Faculty Co-Director, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Analysis of the circulation of management practices in the Bay Area nonprofit community; studies of the commercialization of university basic science; research on faculty entrepreneurship and its consequences for public and private science; analysis of interdisciplinary initiatives at Stanford.
Walter W. Powell is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication, and Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council since 2000, and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute since 1999. Powell works in the areas of organization theory, economic sociology, and the sociology of science. He is interested in the processes through which knowledge is transferred across organizations, and the role of networks in facilitating or hindering innovation, and institutions in codifying ideas. His current work focuses on the emergence of novel organizational forms. His latest book, The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, co-authored with John Padgett, was published by Princeton University Press in 2012.
His 1990 article, “Neither Market Nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization,” won the 1991 Max Weber prize for best paper in the field of organizations; and “Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Inter-Organizational Collaboration,” with D. White, K. Koput, and J. Owen-Smith (2005), received the 2007 Viviana Zelizer prize for best paper in economic sociology. “Technological Change and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology,” with K. Koput and L. Smith-Doerr (1996), was recognized by Administrative Science Quarterly as its most influential scholarly publication in 2002. His 1983 paper, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” with Paul DiMaggio, is the most cited article in the history of the American Sociological Review. Powell is the author or editor of The Culture and Commerce of Book Publishing, with Lewis Coser and Charles Kadushin (Basic Books, 1982), Getting into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing (U. of Chicago Press, 1985), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, with Paul DiMaggio (U. of Chicago Press, 1991), Private Action and the Public Good, with Elisabeth Clemens (Yale U. Press, 1997), and The Nonprofit Sector, with Richard Steinberg (Yale U. Press, 2006).
He received his PhD in Sociology from SUNY – Stony Brook in 1978, and previously taught at Yale, MIT, and the University of Arizona. He has received honorary degrees from Uppsala University, Copenhagen Business School, and the Helsinki School of Economics, and is a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.
"Nonprofit organizations have long existed in a gray area, straddling government and the marketplace. Nonprofits are partially sheltered from market forces and subsidized in part by government funding. Although somewhat buffered from the winds of competition, they nevertheless face complex, contradictory pressures and demands that threaten their mission and survival."
- from Private Action and the Public Good
Professor of Education and (by courtesy) of Organizational Behavior, Sociology, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication.
Co-director, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Assistant Professor (1979 - 1983), Associate Professor of Organization and Management, and Sociology (1983-1987), Yale University;
Associate Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985);
Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1986-1987, 2008-2009);
Associate Professor of Management and Sociology (1988-1991), Professor of Sociology (1991-1999), University of Arizona.
The Culture and Commerce of Publishing, with Lewis A. Coser and Charles Kadushin. Basic Books, 1982.
Getting Into Print: The Decision Making Process in Scholarly Book Publishing, University of Chicago Press, 1985.
The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Co-edited with Paul DiMaggio. University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Private Action and the Public Good, Co-edited with Elisabeth Clemens, Yale University Press, 1998.
The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. Yale University Press, 1987. 2nd edition with Richard Steinberg, 2006.
The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, with John Padgett, Princeton University Press, 2012.
"The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields," with P. DiMaggio, American Sociological Review, 48, 2 (April 1983): 147-60.
"Neither Market Nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization," Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. XII, 1990: 295-336.
"Networks and Economic Life," with L. Smith-Doerr, pp. 368-402 in Handbook of Economic Sociology, Princeton University Press, 1994.
"Technological Change and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology," with K. Koput and L. Smith-Doerr, Administrative Science Quarterly 41, 1 (March 1996): 116-45.
"Inter-Organizational Collaboration in the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 120, 1 (March 1996): 197-215.
"Universities as Creators and Retailers of Intellectual Property: Life Sciences Research and Commercial Development," with J. Owen-Smith, in To Profit or Not to Profit: The Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector, ed. by B. Weisbrod, Cambridge University Press, pp. 169-93, 1998.
"Learning from Collaboration: Knowledge and Networks in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries." California Management Review (Special Issue on Knowledge and the Firm) 40, 3 (Spring 1998): 228-40.
"The Capitalist Firm in the 21st Century: Emerging Patterns in Western Enterprise," pp. 33-68 in The Twenty-First Century Firm: Changing Economic Organizations in International Perspective, edited by P. DiMaggio, Princeton University Press, 2001.
"A Comparison of U.S. and European University-Industry Relations in the Life Sciences," with J. Owen-Smith, F. Pammolli, M. Riccaboni, Management Science, 48,1 (January 2002): 24-43.
"The Expanding Role of University Patenting in the Life Sciences," with Jason Owen-Smith, Research Policy 32,9: 1695-1711.
"Knowledge Networks as Channels and Conduits:The Effects of Spillovers in the Boston Biotechnology Community." Organization Science, 15:1 (Jan-Feb. 2004):5-21.
"Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Inter-Organizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences." American Journal of Sociology, 110:4 (Jan. 2005): 1132-1205.
"The Frontiers of Intellectual Property: Expanded Protection vs. New Models of Open Science." with Diana Rhoten, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol.3, 2007.
Member, Board of Directors, Social Science Research Council