OOW Newly Minted PhDs

Congratulations to all recent PhD graduates! As part of our June newsletter, we profile several newly minted PhDs with OOW-focused research. Learn more about recent graduates, Pete Aceves, Alaz Kilicaslan, Jennifer Nelson and Letian Zhang below.

Pedro (Pete) Acevesaceves-pete_1

Contact information

Ph.D., University of Chicago, Department of Sociology (2018)

Future affiliation
Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Technology, Bocconi University (starting September 2018)

Selected publications and/or awards

  • Evans, James A., and Pedro Aceves. 2016. “Machine Translation: Mining Text for Social Theory.” Annual Review of Sociology.
  • 2017 INFORMS/Organization Science Dissertation Proposal Competition Winner
  • NSF DDRI Grant

Research description
My research investigates how social, linguistic, and technological factors influence processes of collective cognition, and how these processes then affect organizational and market outcomes. In my dissertation, I bring the principle of linguistic relativity into sociological territory by arguing that differences in the structure of language don’t just affect patterns of individual-level cognition, but also affect patterns of social interaction and group behavior. I first created a novel language structure measure that I call information density, which is the average degree to which a language packs conceptual information into its words. I then theorize the effect that information density should have on group performance, arguing that high information density languages facilitate movement through the conceptual space as groups converse. This ease of movement through conceptual space should then lead groups speaking more informationally dense languages to traverse a larger area of the conceptual space, have more and better ideas during creativity tasks, generate better justifications for their decisions during judgement tasks, and ultimately to exhibit superior performance during long-lived group projects. I trace the effects of language information density on the performance of 240 groups in a lab study in India and on the performance of mountaineering expeditions to the Himalayas. My ongoing work seeks to continue this exploration of the deep interstices of social interaction and collective cognition, bridging multiple disciplinary domains, including organization theory, economic sociology, cognitive science, linguistics, and information theory.

Alaz KilicaslanAlaz

Contact information

Ph.D., Boston University, Department of Sociology (2018)

Future affiliation 
Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Department of Sociology, Criminology & Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (starting August, 2018)

Selected publications and/or awards

  • Early Career Workshop Award (Awarded by the Society for the Advancement of Socio-economics)

Research description 
My research bridges medical sociology, economic sociology, and organizational studies to understand how healthcare is delivered, and who has access to it, in a global context. More specifically, I study the moral economy of healthcare by examining how government agencies, medical professionals, and clients negotiate and ultimately shape the healthcare delivery through interactions in organizational settings. I have two ongoing research projects. My dissertation research is an ethnography of healthcare reform in Turkey and explores the organizational dynamics of the reform by focusing on the shifting work patterns of medical professionals and doctor-patient relationships. I found that the reform process, which combines neoliberal logics with an expansion of access to services culminated into a model I term “fast health”, involving a decline in the quality of healthcare encounters, overworked doctors, and a gradual marketization of services. My second project continues to examine the moral economy of health services by turning to migration of African-origin immigrants to Turkey, part of the current Mediterranean migrant crisis. I focus on how a visible racial minority group navigates the complexities of healthcare and how immigrants’ racial, ethnic, and religious identities impact their access.

Teaching interests/experience
My teaching specializations are sociology of health and medicine, economic sociology, organizational studies, and social inequalities, with an additional expertise in the society and politics of the Middle East. At Boston University, I have taught undergraduate seminars “Sociology of Health and Medicine” and “Economic Sociology” and served as a teaching assistant for six semesters in several classes, including “Introduction to Sociology” and “Leading Organizations and People”.

Jennifer NelsonEmory-Nelson_8213

Contact information

Ph.D., Emory University, Department of Sociology (2018)

Future affiliation 
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Research on School Leadership
Vanderbilt University
Peabody College of Education
Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Selected publications

  • Nelson, Jennifer L., and Amanda E. Lewis. 2016. “‘I’m a Teacher, Not a Babysitter:’ Workers’ Strategies for Managing Identity-Related Denials of Dignity in the Early Childhood Workplace.” Research in the Sociology of Work 29: 37-71.
  • Nelson, Jennifer L. 2017. “Pathways to Green(er) Pastures: Reward Bundles and Turnover Decisions in a Semi-Profession.” Qualitative Sociology 40(1):23–57. doi:10.1007/s11133-016-9348-1

Research description
I study how aspects of the organizational environment – including demographic composition, spatial arrangements, and managerial practices – impact workers’ outcomes of coworker support, job satisfaction, and turnover. I study people within organizations using methods such as QCA, employee surveys, and comparative ethnographic studies. To date, my empirical context has been education across a wide range of organizational workplace settings. In previous work, I have studied how work rewards bundle to predict staying and leaving decisions, as well as how client populations impact work identity. These studies appear in Qualitative Sociology and Research in the Sociology of Work (with Amanda Lewis), respectively.

Building on these prior projects, in my dissertation, I examine how management practices in schools shape teachers’ coworker ties. This work is based on a year of ethnographic observation, teacher interviews, and panel surveys across several high schools. In other papers, with coauthors I examine the justice antecedents of coworker trust; how racial distance from colleagues shapes experiences of culture shock at work; and how front- and back-stage spaces in the workplace shape workers’ presentation of self.

Teaching experience/interests
Undergraduate courses: Sociology of Work, Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of Education
Dean’s Teaching Fellow, Emory University (accepted)
Andrew Mellon Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellowship (declined)
3 years as a public high school teacher through the Mississippi Teacher Corps (2008-2011)

Letian (LT) ZhangLT

Contact information

Ph.D., Harvard University, Department of Sociology (2018)

Future affiliation
Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School (starting July, 2018)

Selected publications

  • Zhang, Letian. “A Fair Game? Racial bias and repeated interaction between NBA coaches and players.” Administrative Science Quarterly 62.4 (2017): 603-625.

Dissertation description  
My dissertation, titled Race and Status Dynamics in the NBA, explores racial bias and status formation in NBA basketball. In one chapter, I show that a NBA player receives more playing time under a same-race coach than a different-race coach, even though there is no difference in his performance. However, this racial bias is greatly reduced as the player and the coach spend more time on the same team, suggesting that repeated interaction minimizes coaches’ biases toward their players. But it does not reduce coaches’ racial biases in general. Even after years of coaching other-race players, coaches still exhibit the same levels of racial bias as they did upon first entering the league. These results suggest that repeated workplace interaction is effective in reducing racial bias toward individuals but not toward groups.

Gender, Professions, and Organizations Writing Workshop at ASA 2018

The 15th semi-annual Gender, Professions, and Organizations Writing Workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, August 10th 2018 – the day of pre-conference activities for the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally a workgroup of sociologists doing research on gender and academic careers, scientific workplace organizations, and organizational transformations to promote gender equality, the workshop now includes scholars of gender, professional work, and organizational change. The purpose of the workshop is to learn about the range of work that attendees are doing, to facilitate collaboration and to set aside time for writing. We encourage new and returning participants. If you’ve never come, welcome, and if you have, welcome back!

Continue reading “Gender, Professions, and Organizations Writing Workshop at ASA 2018”

Call for Abstracts: 11th Annual People and Organizations Conference

September 28th and 29th, 2018
The Wharton School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Submission Deadline:  June 1st, 2018

The purpose of the “People and Organizations” Conference is to bring attention to macro-level research on topics associated with work and employment.  We aim to support the community of scholars from organization theory, industrial relations, economics, political science, sociology and strategy who share common interests and need a forum for interdisciplinary exchange. Continue reading “Call for Abstracts: 11th Annual People and Organizations Conference”

OOW at ASA 2018

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia this August for the annual ASA meeting.  Thank you to the Section Council, Committees and volunteers for your efforts in preparing an exciting program.  This year, we have five section panels, and over twenty roundtables, scheduled for Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12.  There are 14 additional regular panels in Family and Work, Gender and Work, Jobs, Occupations and Professions, Labor Market, Labor/Labor Movements, Organizations and Work and the Workplace scheduled from Saturday, August 11 through Tuesday, August 14.

Also on Saturday, August 11, we invite you to attend the Section Business Meeting and announcement of Section awards in the morning.  In the afternoon, we welcome you to attend the invited session on “Rethinking Organizational Power,” organized by OOW Chair, Elisabeth Clemons.  Please also join us for our Reception from 6:30-8:10pm in the Pennsylvania Convention Center (Level 100, 103C).

Please see below for a list of Organization, Occupations and Work Panels.

Continue reading “OOW at ASA 2018”

Call for Papers: Consequences of Change in Healthcare for Organizations, Workers, and Patients


Consequences of Change in Healthcare for Organizations, Workers, and Patients

A Mini-Conference and Avenue for Peer-Reviewed Publication

This call invites papers for a conference and subsequent special issue of Work & Occupations devoted to the consequences of change in healthcare for organizations, workers, and patients. Scholars interested in participating should submit a completed paper to the conference organizers and special issue co-editors Ariel C. Avgar (Cornell), Adrienne E. Eaton (Rutgers), Rebecca Givan (Rutgers), and Adam Seth Litwin (Cornell) by August 1st, 2018. Authors whose papers are accepted will be invited to a conference sponsored by the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University to be held in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on January 9-11, 2019.

Papers presented at this conference should be suitable for submission to external reviewers. Based on the organizers’ recommendations, discussions at the conference, and fit with the special issue, a subset of authors will be asked to submit their papers to Work & Occupations with the expectation that their papers will be published in the special issue once they pass the external review process. Papers that reviewers deem of good quality that are not selected for the special issue will be considered for publication in a regular issue of Work & Occupations.

Continue reading “Call for Papers: Consequences of Change in Healthcare for Organizations, Workers, and Patients”

SocArXiv announces April 30 deadline for SOAR awards

Submitted a paper for an ASA section award? Post it to SocArXiv.org by April 30 to be eligible for a SOAR (Sociology Open Access Recognition) award as well. All shared papers that win an ASA section award will, upon notifying SocArXiv, receive a $250 SOAR award in recognition of the achievement. Submissions for graduate student award competitions are also eligible. Support open access and get the word out about your research by sharing your work on SocArXiv today. For more information about the SOAR program and how to your paper, visit socopen.org, or contact socarxiv@gmail.com.