Bio


Walter W. Powell is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication. He is the Marc and Laura Andreessen Faculty Co-Director of Stanford's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council since 2000, and was an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute from 1999 to 2013. He has been Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, and Lewis A. Coser Visiting Professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Powell works in the areas of organization theory, economic sociology, and the sociology of science. He is interested in the processes through which knowledge is transferred across organizations, and the role of networks in facilitating or hindering innovation, and institutions in codifying ideas. His current work focuses on the emergence of novel organizational forms. These ideas were developed in a recent book, The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, written with John Padgett, and published by Princeton University Press. The third edition of The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, co-edited with Patricia Bromley is forthcoming from Stanford University Press.

His 1990 article, “Neither Market Nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization,” won the 1991 Max Weber prize for best paper in the field of organizations; and “Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Inter-Organizational Collaboration,” with D. White, K. Koput, and J. Owen-Smith (2005), received the 2007 Viviana Zelizer prize for best paper in economic sociology. “Technological Change and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology,” with K. Koput and L. Smith-Doerr (1996), was recognized by Administrative Science Quarterly as its most influential scholarly publication in 2002. His 1983 paper, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” with Paul DiMaggio, is the most cited article in the history of the American Sociological Review. Powell is the author or editor of The Culture and Commerce of Book Publishing, with Lewis Coser and Charles Kadushin (Basic Books, 1982), Getting into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing (U. of Chicago Press, 1985), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, with Paul DiMaggio (U. of Chicago Press, 1991), Private Action and the Public Good, with Elisabeth Clemens (Yale U. Press, 1997), and The Nonprofit Sector, with Richard Steinberg (Yale U. Press, 2006).

He received his PhD in Sociology from SUNY – Stony Brook in 1978, and previously taught at Yale, MIT, and the University of Arizona. He has received honorary degrees from Uppsala University, Copenhagen Business School, and the Helsinki School of Economics, and is a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.

Academic Appointments


  • Professor (By courtesy), Sociology
  • Professor (By courtesy), Organizational Behavior
  • Professor (By courtesy), Communication

Administrative Appointments


  • Faculty Co-Director, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (2005 - Present)
  • Professor (by courtesy) of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University (1999 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • Foreign member, Swedish Royal Academy of Science (2007)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, Uppsala University (2007)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, Aalto University
  • Doctor Mercaturae honoris causa in Economics and Business Administration, Copenhagen Business School (2005)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Board of Directors, Social Science Research Council (2000 - Present)
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2008 - 2009)
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1986 - 1987)

Program Affiliations


  • Science, Technology and Society

Professional Education


  • PhD, SUNY-Stony Brook, Sociology (1978)
  • MA, SUNY-Stony Brook, Sociology (1975)
  • BA, Florida State University (1971)

Research Interests


  • Higher Education
  • Leadership and Organization
  • Sociology

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Please go to my webpage for more info on research:
https://woodypowell.com

2019-20 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Serve or Conserve: Mission, Strategy, and Multi-Level Nonprofit Change During the Great Recession VOLUNTAS Horvath, A., Brandtner, C., Powell, W. W. 2018; 29 (5): 976–93
  • A sociologist looks at crowds: Innovation or invention? STRATEGIC ORGANIZATION Powell, W. W. 2017; 15 (2): 289-297
  • Opening the Black Box: The Microfoundations of Institutions The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism Powell, W. W., Rerup, C. Sage. 2017; 2nd: 328–55
  • Click and mortar: Organizations on the web RESEARCH IN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR: AN ANNUAL SERIES OF ANALYTICAL ESSAYS AND CRITICAL REVIEWS, VOL 36 Powell, W. W., Horvath, A., Brandtner, C. 2016; 36: 101-120
  • The Explanation of Social Action. By John Levi Martin. New York: Oxford University Press (Book Review) AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY Book Review Authored by: Powell, W. W. 2013; 119 (3): 891–94

    View details for DOI 10.1086/673079

    View details for Web of Science ID 000334675000033

  • Amphibious entrepreneurs and the emergence of organizational forms STRATEGIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNAL Powell, W. W., Sandholtz, K. W. 2012; 6 (2): 94-115

    View details for DOI 10.1002/sej.1129

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304905900002

  • The new institutionalism in organizational analysis Powell, W. W., DiMaggio, P. J. University of Chicago Press. 2012
  • The emergence of organizations and markets Padgett, J. F., Powell, W. W. Princeton University Press. 2012
  • The Problem of Emergence EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND MARKETS Padgett, J. F., Powell, W. W., Padgett, J., Powell, W. 2012: 1–29
  • Organizational and Institutional Genesis The Emergence of High-Tech Clusters in the Life Sciences EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND MARKETS Powell, W. W., Packalen, K., Whittington, K., Padgett, J., Powell, W. 2012: 434–65
  • Coda Reflections on the Study of Multiple Networks EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND MARKETS Powell, W. W., Padgett, J. F., Padgett, J., Powell, W. 2012: 566–70
  • An Open Elite Arbiters, Catalysts, or Gatekeepers in the Dynamics of Industry Evolution? EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND MARKETS Powell, W. W., Owen-Smith, J., Padgett, J., Powell, W. 2012: 466–95
  • Decoupling revisited: Common pressures, divergent strategies in the U.S. nonprofit sector MANAGEMENT Bromley, P., Hwang, H., Powell, W. W. 2012; 15 (5): 469–501
  • Chance, Necessite, et Naivete Ingredients to Create a New Organizational Form EMERGENCE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND MARKETS Powell, W. W., Sandholtz, K., Padgett, J., Powell, W. 2012: 379–433
  • COLLECTIVE INVENTION AND INVENTOR NETWORKS HANDBOOK OF THE ECONOMICS OF INNOVATION, VOL 1 Powell, W. W., Giannella, E., Hall, B. H., Rosenberg, N. 2012; 1: 575–605
  • From Smoke and Mirrors to Walking the Talk: Decoupling in the Contemporary World ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT ANNALS Bromley, P., Powell, W. W. 2012; 6: 483-530
  • 17 Networks and Economic Life The handbook of economic sociology Smith-Doerr, L., Powell, W. W. 2010: 379
  • Intellectual capital or signal? The effects of scientists on alliance formation in knowledge-intensive industries RESEARCH POLICY Luo, X. R., Koput, K. W., Powell, W. W. 2009; 38 (8): 1313-1325
  • The Rationalization of Charity: The Influences of Professionalism in the Nonprofit Sector ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY Hwang, H., Powell, W. W. 2009; 54 (2): 268-298
  • Networks, Propinquity, and Innovation in Knowledge-intensive Industries ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY Whittington, K. B., Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2009; 54 (1): 90-122
  • Plans, takes, and mis-takes Outlines. Critical Practice Studies Klemp, N., McDermott, R., Raley, J., Thibeault, M., Powell, K., Levitin, D. J. 2008; 10 (1): 4-21
  • Innovaton and emulation: Lessons from American universities in selling private rights to public knowledge Conference on Science and the Creation of Value - From Alchemy to Proteomics Powell, W. W., Owen-Smith, J., Colyvas, J. A. SPRINGER. 2007: 121–42
  • Biotechnology: Its origins, organization, and outputs RESEARCH POLICY Ebers, M., Powell, W. W. 2007; 36 (4): 433-437
  • The frontiers of intellectual property: Expanded protection versus new models of open science ANNUAL REVIEW OF LAW AND SOCIAL SCIENCE Rhoten, D., Powell, W. W. 2007; 3: 345-373
  • The frontiers of intellectual property: Expanded protection versus new models of open science Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. Rhoten, D., Powell, W. W. 2007; 3: 345-373
  • FROM VULNERABLE TO VENERATED: THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF ACADEMIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE LIFE SCIENCES SOCIOLOGY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP Colyvas, J. A., Powell, W. W., Ruef, M., Lounsbury, M. 2007; 25: 219–59
  • ROADS TO INSTITUTIONALIZATION: THE REMAKING OF BOUNDARIES BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCIENCE RESEARCH IN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR, VOL 27 Colyvas, J. A., Powell, W. W. 2006; 27: 305-353
  • Universities and the production of knowledge - Introduction HIGHER EDUCATION Bleiklie, I., Powell, W. W. 2005; 49 (1-2): 1-8
  • Network dynamics and field evolution: The growth of interorganizational collaboration in the life sciences American journal of sociology Powell, W. W., White, D. R., Koput, K. W., Owen-Smith, J. 2005; 110 (4): 1132-1205
  • Networks and Economic Life HANDBOOK OF ECONOMIC SOCIOLOGY, SECOND EDITION Smith-Doerr, L., Powell, W. W., Smelser, N. J., Swedberg, R. 2005: 379–402
  • Network dynamics and field evolution: The growth of interorganizational collaboration in the life sciences AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY Powell, W. W., White, D. R., Koput, K. W., Owen-Smith, J. 2005; 110 (4): 1132-1205
  • Careers and contradictions: Faculty responses to the transformation of knowledge and its uses in the life sciences SOCIOLOGIE DU TRAVAIL Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2004; 46 (3): 347-377
  • Knowledge networks as channels and conduits: The effects of spillovers in the Boston biotechnology community ORGANIZATION SCIENCE Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2004; 15 (1): 5-21
  • Knowledge networks as channels and conduits: The effects of spillovers in the Boston biotechnology community Organization science Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2004; 15 (1): 5-21
  • The knowledge economy ANNUAL REVIEW OF SOCIOLOGY Powell, W. W., Snellman, K. 2004; 30: 199-220
  • The expanding role of university patenting in the life sciences: assessing the importance of experience and connectivity RESEARCH POLICY Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2003; 32 (9): 1695-1711
  • The expanding role of university patenting in the life sciences: assessing the importance of experience and connectivity Research Policy Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2003; 32 (9): 1695-1711
  • Neither market nor hierarchy The sociology of organizations: classic, contemporary, and critical readings Powell, W. 2003; 315: 104-117
  • Europe and the United States: The power of networks BIOFUTUR Pammolli, F., Riccaboni, M., Owen-Smith, J., Powell, W. W. 2002: 26-29
  • The spatial clustering of science and capital: Accounting for biotech firm-venture capital relationships REGIONAL STUDIES Powell, W. W., Koput, K. W., Bowie, J. I., Smith-Doerr, L. 2002; 36 (3): 291-305
  • A comparison of US and European university-industry relations in the life sciences Conference on University Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer Owen-Smith, J., Riccaboni, M., Pammolli, F., Powell, W. W. INFORMS. 2002: 24–43
  • The capitalist firm in the 21st century: emerging patterns The 21st Century Firm: Changing Economic Organization in International Perspective Powell, W. W. 2001
  • The sources of management logics ADVANCES IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT, VOL 17, 2000 Powell, W. W. 2000; 17: 175-179
  • The iron cage revisited institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields Economics meets sociology in strategic management DiMaggio, P. J., Powell, W. W. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 2000: 143–166
  • The last word? Not a chance ADVANCES IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT, VOL 17, 2000 Powell, W. W. 2000; 17: 197-199
  • Under large pharmaceutical companies' umbrellas BIOFUTUR Powell, W. W. 1999; 1999 (194): 46-49
  • Universities as creators and retailers of intellectual property: Life-sciences research and commercial development To profit or not to profit: The commercial transformation of the nonprofit sector Powell, W. W., Owen-Smith, J. 1998: 169-193
  • Private action and the public good Clemens, E. S. Yale University Press. 1998
  • Learning from collaboration: Knowledge and networks in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries California management review Powell, W. W. 1998; 40 (3): 228-240
  • Inter-organizational collaboration in the biotechnology industry Powell, W. W. J C B MOHR. 1996: 197–215
  • Inter-organizational collaboration in the biotechnology industry Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE)/Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft Powell, W. W. 1996: 197-215
  • Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology Administrative science quarterly Powell, W. W., Koput, K. W., Smith-Doerr, L. 1996: 116-145
  • Commentary - On the nature of institutional embeddedness: Labels vs explanation ADVANCES IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT Powell, W. W. 1996; 13: 293–300
  • CAREERS IN PRINT - BOOKS, JOURNALS, AND SCHOLARLY REPUTATIONS AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY CLEMENS, E. S., POWELL, W. W., MCILWAINE, K., OKAMOTO, D. 1995; 101 (2): 433–94

    View details for DOI 10.1086/230730

    View details for Web of Science ID A1995RW36500006

  • NEITHER MARKET NOR HIERARCHY - NETWORK FORMS OF ORGANIZATION RESEARCH IN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR POWELL, W. W. 1990; 12: 295–336
  • HYBRID ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS - NEW FORM OR TRANSITIONAL DEVELOPMENT CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW Powell, W. W. 1987; 30 (1): 67-87
  • Getting into print: The decision-making process in scholarly publishing Powell, W. W. University of Chicago Press. 1985
  • THE IRON CAGE REVISITED - INSTITUTIONAL ISOMORPHISM AND COLLECTIVE RATIONALITY IN ORGANIZATIONAL FIELDS AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW DIMAGGIO, P. J., POWELL, W. W. 1983; 48 (2): 147–60

    View details for DOI 10.2307/2095101

    View details for Web of Science ID A1983QK63300001

  • Books: The culture and commerce of publishing Coser, L. A., Kadushin, C., Powell, W. W. Basic Books New York. 1982