Jesper B. Sørensen

Professor, Organizational Behavior
+1 (650) 736-9687

Jesper B. Sørensen

The Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor, and Professor of Organizational Behavior

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Director, Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (Seed)
Director, Maersk Fleet & Strategic Brands Leadership Program
Director, Executive Program in Strategy and Organization

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


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 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 Sociology, Administrative 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 Science, a nonprofit, 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, known as Stanford Seed. Seed aims to enable business leaders in developing and emerging economies to lead their regions to greater prosperity. Seed operates regional and satellite centers in West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, and India, and in collaboration with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research supports university-wide research focused on improving the lives of the world’s poor through the Stanford King Center on Global Development.

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.

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

  • The Katherine and David deWilde Faculty Fellow for 2020–21
  • The Katherine and David deWilde Faculty Fellow, 2015–present
  • Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2010–15
  • Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow 2008–09
  • 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


Journal Articles

Jesper B. Sørensen, Glenn R. Carroll
MIT Sloan Management Review
June 3, 2021 Vol. 62 Issue 4 Pages 47–53
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


Jesper B. Sørensen, Glenn R. Carroll
Columbia University Press
New York
January 2021

Academic Publications

Sonali Rammohan, Tim Weiss, Darius F. Teter, Jesper B. Sørensen
Stanford Social Innovation Review
June 2022 Vol. 20 Issue 3 Pages 42–49
Jesper B. Sørensen, Glenn R. Carroll
Columbia Business School Press
January 2021
Glenn R. Carroll, Jesper B. Sørensen
Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Make the business case for sustainability with strategic and financial frameworks, personal leadership skills, and a deeper knowledge of today’s sustainability landscape.

Stanford Case Studies

Glenn Carroll, Jesper Sørensen, Debra Schifrin
Glenn Carroll, Jesper B. Sørensen, Jaclyn C. Foroughi
Jesper Sorensen, Laurent De Clara
Glenn R. Carroll, David Hoyt
Jesper B. Sørensen, Laurent De Clara
Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich
Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen
Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen
Jesper Sørensen, Sara Gaviser Leslie
Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen
Jesper Sorensen
Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen

Conferences, Talks & Speaking Engagements

Jesper Sørensen reveals the competitive advantages and disadvantages that startups and established companies can exploit as they compete for customers in new markets.

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Stanford University Affiliations

  • 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

Insights by Stanford Business

August 15, 2023
Stanford GSB professor shares practical advice for building winning strategies.
May 16, 2023
Creating a well-thought-out strategy for your business requires accepting that you can’t control everything.
November 08, 2022
In this episode, Jesper Sørensen explores why organizational strategy can be both top-down and bottom-up.
July 11, 2022
Here’s a list of shows to add to your summer listening.
July 07, 2022
The latest books from Stanford GSB faculty and lecturers.
June 30, 2022
Small- and medium-sized businesses in Africa and India need ongoing support to keep growing.
March 31, 2022
Five lessons in five minutes: Professor Jesper Sørenson teaches how to create and implement a successful business strategy.
September 09, 2021
Members of the Stanford GSB faculty recommend some of their favorite programs.
January 15, 2021
Learning to construct, debate, and communicate a logically valid argument is an essential pillar in making great strategy.
June 04, 2015
A professor of organizational behavior explains why nailing market identity right out of the gate is critical to successfully launching an innovative product.
May 22, 2015
A professor of organizational behavior explains why strategic thinking is key to taking an idea to the next level.
January 30, 2015
Stanford scholars discuss their experiences in the field.
December 15, 2014
Learn more about risk and other related topics.
September 12, 2014
If sudden wealth is not the likely outcome of starting a company, what motivates someone to take the risk?
October 01, 2013
A game-changing idea can win or lose depending on how quickly the consumer “gets” it.
September 01, 2009
A professor of organizational behavior says working with former entrepreneurs makes individuals more likely to start their own businesses.

School News

April 22, 2024
A new program opens Stanford GSB to undergraduates for the first time.
December 15, 2023
New associate dean brings experience from media, entertainment, and higher education.
October 09, 2023
Students flock to initial offerings this fall.
January 31, 2023
Longtime lecturer at Stanford GSB and revered mentor at McKinsey & Company
April 13, 2021
How Stanford Seed deploys alumni to lift the global economy.
July 16, 2020
After COVID-19 hit, the Stanford GSB-led initiative that’s working to end the cycle of global poverty had just weeks to re-invent itself.
June 20, 2019
Stanford GSB students recognized Professors Timothy McQuade, Jesper Sørensen, and David Kreps for their outstanding teaching.
October 10, 2018
More than 200 Stanford Seed participants from Africa and India gather for the first time to unite in their commitment to bring prosperity to communities through the growth of businesses.
November 30, 2017
Business leaders across India gather to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and transform their companies.
August 17, 2017
Silicon Valley-based university continues to expand global program offerings with new partnership with De Beers Group.
June 28, 2017
Teter joins Stanford Seed with over 20 years of experience in international development, economic growth, and humanitarian program management.
May 09, 2017
More than 500 business leaders have participated in a program designed to support greater economic prosperity through leadership and innovation training.
April 12, 2017
Researchers collaborate with the Indian government to provide children with fortified rice in an effort to reduce alarming rates of anemia and malnutrition.
January 09, 2017
Inside Stanford GSB’s ambitious venture to lift people out of poverty.
June 23, 2015
The institute announces its 2014-15 Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies awards (I-Awards) and Global Development and Poverty Initiative (GDP) research awards.
June 01, 2015
Nigerian cosmetics firm created incentives and strategic performance system to expand business globally.
June 01, 2015
SystemSpecs aims to expand across African continent.
June 18, 2014
Global Development and Poverty Initiative money builds on 22 awards funded by Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.
February 21, 2014
$10 million grant program is part of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.
February 18, 2014
Their goal: to speed the flow of research results and open access to ideas and knowledge.
August 21, 2012
Tralance Addy named SEED executive director.
June 17, 2012
Former Cisco CEO distills his eight decades of life experience into what he called his “Rules for the Long Road.”
March 25, 2012
Robert, MBA ’74, and Elizabeth Jeffe endowed the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professorship at Stanford GSB to support and encourage faculty members working in developing countries and healthcare.
November 29, 2011
Stanford Executive Education launches Leadership Development: Analysis to Action, aimed at high-potential executives and emerging leaders.
June 11, 2011
Herb Allison (MBA '71) offered advice to the graduating Class of 2011 at Stanford GSB's June 11 commencement ceremony.
November 19, 2010
Launched in 2009, the Social Innovation Fellowship has been extended another three years and eligibility broadened to include mission-driven alumni addressing social or environmental problems.
April 01, 2009
Professors Anat Admati, Jonathan Berk, Charles Jones, Dale Miller, Jesper Sørensen, and Sarah Soule, have been honored with new academic titles.