Arvind Karunakaran is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. His research draws on organizational theory and sociology of work and occupations/professions to examine authority and accountability in the workplace, especially in the context of technological change. He received his Ph.D. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

His current research focuses on understanding (a) tensions among the overlapping strands of authority in organizations (e.g., line authority, staff authority, professional authority), and how it shapes consequential outcomes such as exclusion/inclusion in the workplace, perceptions of powerlessness, workplace harassment, employee voice and change implementation; (b) mechanisms for enforcing accountability during periods of organizational and technological changes (e.g., introduction of algorithmic evaluation tools, social media platforms, diversity & sustainability initiatives).

He specializes in ethnographic and field-based methods (e.g., participant observations, interviews), examining the empirical and theoretical puzzles discovered during fieldwork that existing research cannot fully explain. He complements these methods with comparative-historical analysis of primary archival data and quantitative/computational analysis of large-corpus of textual data.

His research has been published in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Research Policy, and recognized with awards from professional associations, including the American Sociological Association (ASA), Academy of Management (AOM), Industry Studies Association (ISA), Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA).

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Jagdeep & Roshni Singh Faculty Fellow, Stanford University (2022)
  • Recipient, Best Published Paper, Communications, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology, American Sociological Association (2022)
  • Recipient, William H. Newman Best Dissertation Paper, Academy of Management (2019)
  • Recipient, Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper, Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division, Academy of Management (2019)
  • Honorable Mention, Junior Theorist Award, Theory Section, American Sociological Association (2019)
  • Recipient, Giarratani Rising Star Award, Industry Studies Association (2022)
  • Recipient, Gerardine DeSanctis Best Dissertation Paper, Communications, Technology, and Organizing (CTO) Division, Academy of Management (2019)
  • Recipient, Best Conference Paper, Communications, Technology, and Organizing (CTO) Division, Academy of Management (2019)
  • Recipient, Emerging Scholar in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Industry Studies Association (2019)
  • LERA Best Papers, Labor and Employment Relations Association (2019, 2021, 2022)
  • Finalist, Best Submission with Practical Implications, MOC Division/Behavioral Science and Policy Association, AOM (2019)
  • Runner-up, Best Paper in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Industry Studies Association (2022)
  • Runner-up, Best Working Paper Award, Technology, Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship, INFORMS (2019)
  • Recipient, Best Doctoral Dissertation, Association of Information Systems (AIS)/Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (2018)
  • Honorable Mention, Shils-Coleman Memorial Award, Theory Section, American Sociological Association (2018)
  • Recipient, Best Graduate Student Paper, Communications, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology, American Sociological Association (2017)
  • Recipient, Best Paper (Macro Track), East Coast Doctoral Conference, Organized by Columbia University and NYU (2017)
  • Ethnography Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago (2017)
  • Recipient, Donald R. Cressey Award for the Most Outstanding Dissertation Project, Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy (2016)
  • Recipient, Above & Beyond Call of Duty Award (top 2% of reviewers), Organization and Management Theory (OMT) section, AOM (2013)
  • Recipient, Vincent Cerf Graduate Student Paper Award, Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technologies (2012)

Professional Education

  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Areas of Research:
Sociology of Work and Occupations/Professions
Organization Theory
Technological/Organizational change

Authority in the Workplace
Accountability (Professional, Organizational, Algorithmic)

Social/Algorithmic Evaluation (of Job applicants, Employees, Startups)
AI in the workplace
Social Media Scrutiny of Frontline Professionals
Conflicts in Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Relations
Diversity and Inclusion in Tech
Sustainability/ESG initiatives

2022-23 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Anchored Inferential Learning: Platform-Specific Uncertainty, Venture Capital Investments by the Platform Owner, and the Impact on Complementors Organization Science **Equal Authorship** Van Angeren, J., Karunakaran, A. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.1287/orsc.2022.1607

  • The Experimental Hand: Examining How Platform-based Experimentation Reconfigures Worker Autonomy Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming. **Equal authorship** Rahman, H., Weiss, T., Karunakaran, A. 2023
  • Crowd-Based Accountability: Examining How Social Media Commentary Reconfigures Organizational Accountability ORGANIZATION SCIENCE Karunakaran, A., Orlikowski, W. J., Scott, S. V. 2022; 33 (1): 170-193
  • Status-Authority Asymmetry between Professions: The Case of 911 Dispatchers and Police Officers ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY Karunakaran, A. 2022; 67 (2): 423-468
  • In Cloud We Trust? Co-opting Occupational Gatekeepers to Produce Normalized Trust in Platform-Mediated Interorganizational Relationships ORGANIZATION SCIENCE Karunakaran, A. 2022; 33 (3): 1188-1211
  • Process-based ideology of participative experimentation to foster identity-challenging innovations: The case of Gmail and AdSense STRATEGIC ORGANIZATION Garud, R., Karunakaran, A. 2018; 16 (3): 273-303
  • Boundaries, breaches, and bridges: The case of Climategate RESEARCH POLICY Garud, R., Gehman, J., Karunakaran, A. 2014; 43 (1): 60-73
  • Toward a Model of Collaborative Information Behavior in Organizations JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Karunakaran, A., Reddy, M. C., Spence, P. 2013; 64 (12): 2437-2451

    View details for DOI 10.1002/asi.22943

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330129200003