Aruna Ranganathan

Aruna Ranganathan
Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
On leave until December 2020.
Lacob Family Faculty Scholar for 2019–2020
Academic Area: 
Organizational Behavior

Research Statement

Identification with work is the idea that work can inherently be enjoyable and a source of fulfillment. My research agenda examines when and why this identification with work matters and investigates its implications for workers, organizations and occupations. I develop this agenda through three related research streams that examine how identification with work affects (1) individual worker productivity and pricing (three papers), (2) gender inequality in organizations (four papers), and (3) the design of occupational institutions (three papers). All of this research focuses on economically disadvantaged workers in India, who are expected to be primarily driven by monetary considerations in their decision-making. Investigating identification with work among this group of workers thus offers a strong test for the idea that identification could play an important role in understanding the nature of work, while also informing important policy debates in this context. My research is also unified by my “full-cycle” methodological approach that combines inductive qualitative methods (ethnography and interviews) and deductive experimental methods (including field, lab-in-the-field and natural experiments). The qualitative methods help to develop hypotheses linking novel mechanisms for identification with work to workplace outcomes, while the quantitative methods help to causally test these hypotheses using experimental designs.


Professor Aruna Ranganathan spent her childhood in the Middle East, India, and Singapore before graduating with honors from University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business with a B.Com in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources in 2006. She also received an MS in international and comparative labor from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 2008 and an MS/PhD in Management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2014. Her doctoral dissertation, “Working with Your Hands: Essays on Craft Occupations in India” explored the intersection between economic sociology, the sociology of work, and industrial relations.

Academic Degrees

  • MS/PhD, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014
  • MS, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 2008
  • B.Com, University of British Columbia, 2006

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford GSB, 2019
  • Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford GSB, 2015–2019
  • Post Doctoral Associate, TATA Center, MIT, 2014–2015

Professional Experience

  • Member of Academy of Management
  • Member of Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Member of American Sociological Association

Awards and Honors

  • Junior Faculty Research Grant, Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development, 2018
  • Runner Up, Best International Paper Award, OMT Division, Academy of Management, 2018
  • Clayman Institute's Stanford Faculty Research Fellowship, 2017–2018
  • Runner Up, Research Paper Competition, Wharton People Analytics, 2017
  • Runner Up, Best International Paper Award, OMT Division, Academy of Management, 2016
  • Louis R. Pondy Award for Best paper based on a dissertation, OMT Division, AOM, 2016
  • Lacob Family Faculty Scholar, 2019–2020
  • William H. Newman Award for Best Paper Based on a Dissertation, Academy of Management, 2016
  • Honorable mention for the Ron Burt award for outstanding student paper by Economic Sociology group, ASA, 2013
  • Martin Fellowship, 2013–2014
  • CIS Summer Grant, 2013
  • Sarofim Fellowship, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2011–2012
  • India Innovation Seed Fund, MISTI, 2011


Journal Articles

Aruna Ranganathan, Alan Benson. American Sociological Review. July 2020.
Emilio Castilla, Aruna Ranganathan. Organization Science. March 17, 2020, Vol. 31, Issue 4, Pages 797-1051.
Aruna Ranganathan, Ranjitha Shivaram. Management Science, forthcoming. 2020.
Aruna Ranganathan, David S. Pedulla. Organization Science, forthcoming. 2020.
Aruna Ranganathan. Administrative Science Quarterly. September 1, 2018, Vol. 63, Issue 3, Pages 637-667.
Aruna Ranganathan. Administrative Science Quarterly. December 19, 2017, Pages 1-13.
Aruna Ranganathan. Industrial and Labor Relations Review. July 2013, Vol. 66, Issue 4, Pages 902-932.
Sarosh Kuruvilla, Aruna Ranganathan. Industrial Relations Journal. March 3, 2010, Vol. 41, Issue 2, Pages 136-153.
Sarosh Kuruvilla, Aruna Ranganathan. Industrial and Labor Relations Review. October 2008, Vol. 62, Issue 1, Pages 39-72.

Book Chapters

Aruna Ranganathan, Sarosh Kuruvilla. Management Practices in High-Tech Environments. Hershey: IGI Global, April 2008, Pages 110-132.


Degree Courses


The world of work has changed fundamentally - firms are now integrally linked to the global economy and many of you will manage teams of people located in different countries. What are the typical "people" challenges that arise when working...

In this class, you will learn how to effectively combine qualitative research methods, including ethnographic observation and interviews, with experimental methods, including lab, natural and field experiments, to investigate questions of...

Stanford University Affiliations

Stanford GSB

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