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Jesper B. Sørensen

Jesper B. Sørensen
Professor, Organizational Behavior
JesperB.Sørensen
Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor and Professor of Organizational Behavior
Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Codirector of the Executive Leadership Development Program
Faculty Director of SEED
Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow for 2013-2014
Academic Area: 
Organizational Behavior

Research Statement

Jesper B. Sørensen specializes in the dynamics of organizational and strategic change, and their implications for individuals and their careers. His research on firm outcomes has focused on the impact of organizational structure and culture on organizational learning, performance and innovation. His work of the dynamics of teams has led to new insights concerning how people respond to changes in the racial composition of their workgroups. Sørensen has most recently published a number of papers on the ways in which work environments shape the decision to become an entrepreneur. He is currently interested in how investors and consumers make sense of new products or ventures that leverage radically new innovations, and the strategic implications of these processes.

Research Interests

  • Careers
  • Organizations
  • Strategy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Inequality

Bio

Jesper B. Sørensen received his AB from Harvard College and his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. He is currently the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor and Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Professor in the Department of Sociology (by courtesy). Prior to working at Stanford, Professor Sørensen was at the University of Notre Dame (1995-1996), the University of Chicago (1996-2000), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2000-2006).

Professor Sørensen is a sociologist who specializes in studying the dynamics of both organizations and careers, with work that covers a wide range of topics ranging from firm performance to social inequality. For example, his work has touched on: a) how firm characteristics (e.g., organizational age, corporate culture, incentive systems) influence organizational learning and performance; b) the impact of career experiences on turnover rates and workplace diversity, as well as firm outcomes; c) the influence of local corporate demography on promotion chances and income inequality; d) the micro-structure of social class in the United States; and e) the influence of the work environment on individual rates of entrepreneurship.

Professor Sørensen won (with Toby E. Stuart) the 2006 Administrative Science Quarterly Award for Scholarly Contribution for the article “Aging, Obsolescence and Organizational Innovation” (ASQ, 2000). He also won the 2006 Teacher of the Year award from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of SociologyAdministrative Science Quarterly, and Strategic Management Journal.   Professor Sørensen has also been a Senior Editor at Organization Science and Department Editor for the Organizations Department at Management Science.  In 2013, he co-founded Sociological Sciencea non-profit, open-access online journal devoted publishing the best in sociological research, where he is currently the Editor-in-Chief.

At Stanford, Professor Sørensen has served as a Faculty Director of the Center for Social Innovation, and is currently Faculty Director of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED).  SEED aims to transform the lives of people in poverty on a massive scale through entrepreneurship and innovation—and the growth and scaling of businesses.  In addition, he serves as Co-Director of the Stanford Global Development and Poverty Initiative, which seeks to transform Stanford’s capacity to develop innovative approaches to economic development and poverty alleviation.

Born in Denmark but (mostly)raised and educated in the U.S., Professor Sørensen continues his life-long struggle with mispronunciations of his first name (“with a J but like a Y”) with a mixture of humor and (mostly) resignation. 

 Startups vs. Big Business

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Stanford University, 1996
  • AB, Harvard College, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2006
  • Associate Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2001-2006
  • Assistant Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2000-2001
  • University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Assistant Professor of Strategy, 1996-2000
  • University of Notre Dame, Assistant Professor of Sociology, 1995-1996

Awards and Honors

  • Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow 2010-2014
  • Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow 2008-2009
  • ASQ Award for Scholarly Contribution, Administrative Science Quarterly, 2006
  • Teacher of the Year, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2006
  • Richard S. Leghorn, Chair, MIT Sloan School of Management, 1993

Publications

Journal Articles

Jesper B. Sørensen, Amanda Sharkey. American Sociological Review. 2014, Vol. 79, Pages 328-349.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Damon Phillips. Industrial and Corporate Change. 2011, Vol. 20, Pages 1277-1304.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Magali Fassiotto. Organization Science. 2011, Vol. 22, Pages 1322-1331.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Amanda Sharkey. Sociological Methods and Research. 2011, Vol. 40, Pages 635-645.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Ramana Nanda. Management Science. 2010, Vol. 56, Pages 1116-1126.
Jesper B. Sørensen. Administrative Science Quarterly. 2007, Vol. 52, Pages 387-412.
Jesper B. Sørensen. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2007, Vol. 25, Pages 83-124.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Olav Sorenson. American Sociological Review. 2007, Vol. 72, Pages 766-783.
Jesper B. Sørensen. American Behavioral Scientist. 2007, Vol. 50, Pages 659-676.
Jesper B. Sørensen, John Van Maanen, Terrence R. Mitchell. Academy of Management Journal. 2007, Vol. 35, Pages 1145-1154.
Jesper B. Sørensen. American Journal of Sociology. 2004, Vol. 110, Issue 3, Pages 626-671.
M. Diane Burton, Jesper B. Sørensen, Christine Beckman. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2002, Vol. 19.
Jesper B. Sørensen. Administrative Science Quarterly. 2002, Vol. 47, Issue 1, Pages 70-91.
Jesper B. Sørensen, Toby E. Stuart. Administrative Science Quarterly. 2000, Vol. 45, Issue 1, Pages 81-112.
Jesper B. Sørensen. Industrial and Corporate Change. 1999, Vol. 8, Issue 4, Pages 713-744.

Other Publications

Glenn R. Carroll, Jesper B. Sørensen. Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management. Palgrave, 2014.

Courses Taught

Degree Courses

2014-15

This is a course in the design of social research, with a particular emphasis on research field (i.e., non-laboratory) settings. As such, the course is a forum for discussing and developing an understanding of the different strategies social...

This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization's strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

2013-14

This course will explore the strategic and managerial challenges involved in running for-profit companies in developing economies. Particular emphasis will be given to understanding the challenges of running enterprises that touch the lives of...

This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization's strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

2012-13

The Critical Analytical Thinking (CAT) course provides a setting for students to further develop and hone the skills needed to analyze complex issues and make forceful and well-grounded arguments. In 16-18 person sections, you will analyze,...

2011-12

The Critical Analytical Thinking (CAT) course provides a setting for students to further develop and hone the skills needed to analyze complex issues and make forceful and well-grounded arguments. In 16-18 person sections, you will analyze,...

2010-11

Global poverty is a problem that persists on a massive scale, and its persistence may itself be a major impediment to growth in emerging economies. Recent years have seen a blossoming interest in socially innovative approaches to alleviating...

This is a course in the design of social research, with a particular emphasis on research field (i.e., non-laboratory) settings. As such, the course is a forum for discussing and developing an understanding of the different strategies social...

Stanford Case Studies

Innovation at Caterpillar: The D7E Tractor | SM223
Glenn R. Carroll, David Hoyt2014
Health Leads (A) Expansion Decisions for a Health Care Nonprofit | SM192A
Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013
Health Leads (B): Entering the “Proof Period” | SM192B
Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013
d.light, Selling Solar to the Poor | IDE03
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012
EcoPost, Financing a Green Startup in Africa | IDE02
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012
Mobius Motors: Building an African Car | IDE01
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012
Xerox and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) | SM187
Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2010
Note On Organizational Culture | OB69
Jesper Sorensen2009
As Green As It Gets | OB71
Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2008

Conferences, Talks, and Speaking Engagements

Video: Startups vs. Big Business
Jesper Sørensen reveals the competitive advantages and disadvantages that startups and established companies can exploit as they compete for customers in new markets.

Stanford University Affiliations

Stanford GSB

Greater Stanford University

  • Affiliation commas wrapper

    Co-Director, Global Development and Poverty Initiative, 2014-

Service to the Profession

  • Editor in Chief, Sociological Science, 2013-
  • Department Editor, Management Science, 2010-2014
  • Senior Editor, Organization Science, 2006-2009