Michael Hannan

StrataCom Professor of Management

Professor of Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences

Phone: (650) 723-1511

Email: hannan@gsb.stanford.edu

Personal Homepage: http://www.stanford.edu/~hannan


Academic Areas: Organizational Behavior

Michael Hannan investigates change in the world of organizations. This work involves both formal theoretical treatments of organizational change and empirical studies of the emergence, change, and dissolution of categories and populations of organizations. His current theoretical research involves applications of dynamic and modal logics to organization theory, exploration of the emergence of organizational categories, and typecasting processes. His current empirical research investigates the dynamics of categories in the wine and restaurant industries.


Michael Hannan is the Stratacom Professor of Management in the Graduate School of Business and Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

He received his PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1970. He came to Stanford as Assistant Professor of Sociology in 1969, moved to Cornell in 1984 where he was the Scarborough Professor of Social Sciences, and returned to Stanford in 1991.

His major research interests include categories in markets, organizational ecology, sociological methodology, and formal sociological theory. His current theoretical research applies dynamic logics to organization theory. His current empirical research investigates the emergence of organizational categories and the implications of category membership for organizational identity in several domains, including winemaking in the Italian regions of Piedmont and Tuscany as well as Alsace in France.

Professor Hannan has published more than 100 articles in scholarly journals. Two of his books have received best book awards from the American Sociological Association. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and he received a Guggenheim fellowship.

Academic Degrees

PhD, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1970; MA, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1968; BA, College of the Holy Cross, 1965.

Professional Experience

At Stanford 1969-84, and since 1991. Henry Scarborough Prof. of Social Sciences, Cornell Univ. 1984-91; Asst. Prof.-Prof., Stanford Univ. 1969-84.

Selected Publications

  • Logics of Organization Theory: Audiences, Codes, and Ecologies: Princeton University Press, 2007
  • The Demography of Corporations and Industries: Princeton University Press, 2000
  • Dynamics of Organizational Populations: Oxford University Press, 1992
  • Aggregation and Disaggregation in the Social Sciences, second edition: Lexington Books, 1992

Working Papers

  • 2082: Drifting Tastes, Inertia, and Organizational Viability
  • 2101: Category Signaling: Biodynamic and Organic Winemaking in Alsace
  • 2011: Modal Constructions in Sociological Arguments
  • 2010: Typecasting and Legitimation: A Formal Theory
  • 2062: On the Dynamics of Organizational Mortality: Age-Dependence Revisited
  • 2081R: Category Spanning, Distance, and Appeal
  • 2110: Toward an Ecology of Market Categories
  • 1550: Determinants of Managerial Intensity in the Early Years of Organizations
  • 1638: Reasoning with Partial Knowledge
  • 1732: Structural Inertia and Organizational Change Revisited I: Architecture, Culture and Cascading Change*
  • 1733: Structural Inertia and Organizational Change Revisited II: Complexity, Opacity, and Change*
  • 1734: Structural Inertia and Organizational Change Revisited III: The Evolution of Organizational Inertia*
  • 1968R: A Formal Theory of Multiple Category Memberships and Two Empirical Tests
  • 1972: No Barrique, No Berlusconi: Collective Identity, Contention, and Authenticity in the Making of Barolo and Barbaresco Wines

Selected Cases

  • IB27: The Daimler Chrysler Commercial Vehicles Division
  • IB41: The World Trade Organization and The Seattle Talks
  • OB46: Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
  • OB50: Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (Abridged)

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1991
  • Max Weber Award, 1991, American Sociological Association
  • Distinguished Scholar, Organization Theory and Management Division, 1991, Academy of Management
  • Max Weber Award, 2002, American Sociological Association
  • Best Paper Award in Mathematical Sociology, 2003, American Sociological Association
  • Accenture Best Paper Award, 2002, California Management Review

Courses Taught

  • GSBGEN 518: Dynamics of the Global Wine Industry
  • GSBGEN 557: Authenticity in Markets: The Case of the Wine Industry
  • OB 653: Categories in Markets



  • Professor of Organization Theory (part-time): Durham University, UK (2005 - present)
  • Fellow: American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991 - present)
  • Fellow: Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study (2000 - 2001)
  • Fellow: Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1977 - 1978)

In The Media