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


Academic Publications


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Learn how to grow and scale your company in this 10-month program ​for CEOs and founders of established businesses in Africa and South Asia.
Evolve as a leader in an executive education program that reinvigorates and ramps up your professional journey.
Transform knowledge into impact and drive innovation and change in your organization with Stanford LEAD, our flagship online business program.

Stanford Case Studies

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

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