Sarah A. Soule

Professor, Organizational Behavior
+1 (650) 642-4385

Sarah A. Soule

The Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Sara Miller McCune Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
The Sara Miller McCune Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
Co-Director, Stanford LEAD
Co-Director, LGBTQ Executive Leadership Program
Co-Director, Stanford LEAD Online Business Program
Co-Director, Coaching Skills for Effective Leadership
Co-Director, The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership
Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Co-Director, LGBTQ Executive Leadership Program
Co-Director, Coaching Skills for Effective Leadership
Co-Director, Stanford LEAD Online Business Program
Co-Director, The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership

Research Statement

Sarah A. Soule’s research examines state and organizational-level policy change and diffusion, and the role social movements have on these processes. She has published papers on how protest impacts firm decisions, how advocacy organizations learn new strategies and tactics from those with which they collaborate, and on the process of emergence and diffusion of new protest tactics. She has published a book with Cambridge University Press, entitled Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility. Recent published work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Sociological Review, Organizational Studies, the Strategic Management Journal, and the Annual Review of Sociology.

Teaching Statement

Sarah A. Soule teaches courses on Strategy, Organizational Design, and Design Thinking.


Soule is the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Sara Miller McCune Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Her major areas of interest are organizational theory, social movements, and political sociology. She has written two books, the first with Cambridge University Press, entitled Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility, and the second with Norton, called A Primer on Social Movements. She is a member of the founding team of Sociological Science, and serves on the editorial boards of Stanford University Press and Cambridge University Press. Her recent research has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and the Administrative Science Quarterly. She has served on a number of boards of nonprofit organizations, is currently a member of the board of advisors to the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the Stanford, and the international advisory board to the president of the Stockholm School of Economics.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Sociology, Cornell University, 1995
  • MA in Sociology, Cornell University, 1991
  • BA in Sociology, University of Vermont, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2008

Awards and Honors

  • Hank McKinnell-Pfizer Inc. Faculty Fellow, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2014-2015


Journal Articles

Erica Bailey, Dan Wang, Sarah A. Soule, Hayagreeva Rao
American Journal of Sociology
January 2023
Lambert Zixin Li, Sarah A. Soule
Academy of Management Proceedings
July 6, 2022 Vol. 2022 Issue 1
Tua Bjorklund, Hanna Maula, Sarah A. Soule, Jesse Maula
California Management Review
January 2020
Dan J. Wang, Hayagreeva Rao, Sarah A. Soule
American Sociological Review
June 1, 2019 Vol. 84 Issue 3 Pages 420-458
Elise Tak, Shelley J. Correll, Sarah A. Soule
Social Forces
January 22, 2019 Vol. 98 Issue 2 Pages 548-577
Scott C. Ganz, Sarah A. Soule
Environmental Politics
January 22, 2019 Vol. 28 Issue 4 Pages 685-706
Daniel Q. Gillion, Sarah A. Soule
Social Science Quarterly
November 2018 Vol. 99 Issue 5 Pages 1649-1664
Dan Wang, Alessandro Piazza, Sarah A. Soule
Annual Reviews of Sociology
July 2018 Vol. 44 Pages 167-187
Bryan Walker, Sarah A. Soule
Harvard Business Review
June 20, 2017 Pages 2-6
Susan Olzak, Sarah A. Soule, Marion Coddou, John Munoz
Mobilization: An International Quarterly
July 2016 Vol. 21 Issue 2 Pages 213-230
Dan J. Wang, Sarah A. Soule
American Sociological Review
May 26, 2016 Vol. 81 Issue 3 Pages 517-548
Wooseok Jung, Brayden King, Sarah A. Soule
American Journal of Sociology
July 2014
Sarah A. Soule, Anand Swaminathan, Laszlo Tihanyi
Strategic Management Journal
June 2013
Sarah A. Soule
Organization Studies
Sarah A. Soule
Research in the Sociology of Organization


Sarah A. Soule
Cambridge Univeristy Press
New York

Academic Publications

Sarah A. Soule, Lambert Zixin Li
Spring 2023 Issue
February 6, 2023


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Gain essential coaching skills to support employee development, motivate employees and improve retention, culture, and results in this practical course for managers and leaders.
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Act with power, navigate the workplace, and take the lead with new strategies and tactics in this unique women’s leadership program.
Act with power, strengthen negotiating skills, learn to manage teams, and lead with impact in this unique leadership program for women on the rise.
Experience Stanford business and medicine in a health care leadership program featuring design thinking and personal leadership skill development.
Build your career and network with a specialized leadership program for LGBTQ+ executives, the first of its kind from a leading business school.
Inclusion stimulates productivity and growth. Learn to recognize and remove barriers in order to design a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace.
Anticipate and develop strategies to address critical beyond-market forces, from legislation and regulation to activism and the media.
Gain a competitive advantage using Silicon Valley models and mindsets to recruit, retain, and inspire people for performance and growth.
Learn how to grow and scale your company in this 10-month program ​for CEOs and founders of established businesses in Africa, Indonesia, and South Asia.
Reinvigorate and ramp up your professional journey and evolve as a leader in our flagship executive program.
Transform knowledge into impact and drive innovation and change in your organization with Stanford LEAD, our flagship online business program.

Stanford Case Studies

Sarah A. Soule, Stephan Leixnering, Markus Höllerer, Margot Sutherland
Sarah Soule, Huggy Rao, Robert Sutton, Davina Drabkin
Sarah Soule, Davina Drabkin
Sarah Soule, Davina Drabkin
Sarah A Soule, Davina Drabkin
Sarah Soule, Michael Golomb, Debra Schifrin
Shelley Correll, Debra Schifrin, Sarah Soule
Shelley Correll, Debra Schifrin, Sarah Soule

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

December 07, 2023
Communication. Power. Technology. Finance. This year’s podcast roundup has something for everyone.
December 05, 2023
New ideas never go out of season.
November 27, 2023
Stanford GSB professor shares insights on how to create an environment of psychological safety to remove the stigma of failure and increase your success.
October 31, 2023
Creating an environment of psychological safety yields benefits to organizations, teams, and leaders.
March 07, 2023
Flipping the PR playbook by admitting wrongdoing can improve a firm’s image and mobilize support for social causes, according to new research.
March 24, 2022
Some of our favorite articles about breakthroughs, biases, and bosses.
April 23, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss best practices when inspiring young people to seize responsibility.
April 19, 2021
We’ve compiled top insights and advice from previous episodes to help you cultivate a compelling professional presence through the screen.
October 21, 2020
Stanford researchers measure the depth of our partisan divide — and suggest some ways to bridge it.
October 09, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how subtle word choice can invite inclusion, or can reinforce harmful stereotypes.
November 13, 2019
How bias creeps into the language of leadership.
July 18, 2019
Social advocacy organizations have greater impact on federal legislation when their experts get to testify.
March 29, 2019
Gender bias can negatively affect what we think about products made by women, especially in male-oriented markets.
October 30, 2018
A study shows that both liberal and conservative protests have had a real impact on U.S. House elections.
December 05, 2017
15 Stanford business professors recommend books for those long winter nights.
April 13, 2016
Growing an organization is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
March 23, 2016
Protests do more than draw attention to causes. They can also spur innovation.
April 30, 2015
Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.
April 30, 2015
Five Stanford scholars share their insights on the topic of reward.
January 05, 2015
Companies that are targeted by activists become more socially-responsible over time.
October 10, 2014
Activism has catalyzed progress, but companies can be slow to evolve. How can activists know that their efforts matter? And what is the evidence that their work makes a difference?
October 30, 2013
A Stanford scholar discusses a collaborative, human-centered approach to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
March 21, 2012
The "Food Inc." filmmaker and author suggests critics of today's industrial food system should focus more on social justice.

School News

March 29, 2022
Stanford GSB releases annual report on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
December 08, 2020
Stanford GSB shares progress and learnings, and our focus on racial equity as a priority.
November 04, 2020
Underrepresented PhD students from around the country gathered at the inaugural Rising Scholars Conference to claim their place in academia.
August 06, 2020
If you want to move a business school’s curriculum online in a single weekend, you better practice what you teach.
July 24, 2020
While sheltering in place, a Stanford GSB professor decided to write out equations in her kitchen — much to her cat’s confusion.
March 25, 2020
Though concerns over COVID-19 forced the cancellation Me2We on-campus, participants brought the same enthusiasm and excitement, virtually.
May 14, 2019
Meet three graduates of an innovative Stanford GSB program designed to create a path for women and minorities in business academia.
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.
March 19, 2018
Students explore how self-awareness, self-care, and self-understanding can help them become better leaders.
February 28, 2018
Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership Certificate joins the existing LEAD certificate on corporate innovation, now in its third year.
October 26, 2017
Dean Levin engages in conversations with GSB community members about his priorities for the school.
August 22, 2017
Silicon Valley Business Journal visits Stanford GSB as participants examine how professional leadership and personal identity intersect.
August 07, 2017
Two new committees study long-range shifts in faculty research and management education.
January 07, 2016
The only program of its kind to be offered by a leading business school, Stanford LGBT Executive Leadership Program addresses the gap in LGBT leadership in the C-Suite.
October 30, 2015
The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership Executive Program is a groundbreaking academic partnership between Stanford’s schools of business and medicine.
February 18, 2014
Their goal: to speed the flow of research results and open access to ideas and knowledge.
April 01, 2009
Professors Anat Admati, Jonathan Berk, Charles Jones, Dale Miller, Jesper Sørensen, and Sarah Soule, have been honored with new academic titles.