northwestern phd students

One of the highlights of my visit to Northwestern was a chance to sit in on Paul Hirsch’s “Macro-Organization Behavior” doctoral seminar (well, and the subsequent dinner pictured below – sorry, that was the best shot we were able to get).  Paul’s seminar consists of first and second year students in the organizations and/or sociology PhD programs.   The level of discussion was high – frankly, surprisingly high.  Fantastic students.

Beyond the regular discussion for that day (we read Zajac-Westphal ASR, Davis et al. ASR, Oliver AMR and Thornton-Ocasio AJS — important papers), Paul asked me to send him some recent work of mine.  I was hoping we would get into some issues related to performativity and markets – but Paul had the students read about the Jepperson and Meyer debate.  The classic agency v structure (or, actor v non-actor) debate was a good fit for the seminar.  The discussion was very lively.  We had a great discussion about whether the two sides simply represent extremes, about the history of methodological debates like this (going back to the German Historical School, Weber etc), the practical implications of these debates for understanding social phenomena, questions of “pushing your cookie” versus pluralism, etc, etc.  Great discussion.

As a quick side comment – what is very cool about Northwestern is that everything seems to scream “inter-disciplinarity” of some sort.  Very cool.  The orgs and soc people are extremely well linked, attend each other’s seminars etc, micro and macro folks work together (e.g., Brayden has a recent piece with the notorious Adam G in a psych outlet), you’ve orgs folks like Jeannette Colyvas at the Ed School, and you’ve got fascinating interdisciplinary centers like the one Brian Uzzi co-directs (Nico).

So, bottom line – if you are considering an orgs phd (I know we have a few readers in this boat), then Northwestern better be at the top of your list.  I don’t think you can go wrong there – fantastic scholars and an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment.  Two orgtheory thumbs up.

The photo was taken at the restaurant Prairie Moon.  (Again, sorry about the photo quality – it was the best shot we got, even with my all-powerful 4s.)

Written by teppo

October 27, 2011 at 4:08 am

Posted in education

6 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the plug Teppo. We do have fantastic phd students at Northwestern. It’s a great place to be an org. theorist.


    brayden king

    October 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  2. I’m glad you had a great visit here. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make your talk, but you were opposite the college’s monthly meeting of department chairs.



    October 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  3. Jeremy: yes, sorry I missed you! I was hoping to change my tickets to stay for that Stinchcombe talk (didn’t work out – hope someone is blogging about the talk, if that is allowed).



    October 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  4. Confirmation bias?


    Michael Marotta

    October 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm

  5. Shameless self-promoting plug, but Northwestern’s School of Communication (SoC) also has some strong organizational and sociology scholars (e.g., Noshir Contractor, Paul Leonardi, Eszter Hargittai, and Pablo Boczkowski, among others) and PhD programs in Technology & Social Behavior (TSB) as well as Media, Technology, and Society (MTS). Lots of overlap between the sociology, Kellogg MORS, MTS, and TSB kids.


    Brian Keegan

    November 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

  6. Brian: I didn’t have a chance to interact with folks in the NW Communication School – but clearly you have a fantastic set of scholars there as well.



    November 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm

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