I am a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Sociology studying economic sociology, organizations, and technology. In addition, I hold a Designated Emphasis in the Sociology of Organizations and Markets from Haas School of Business. I use mixed methods to study corporations as sites of broader changes in the economy, with a particular interest in understanding the tensions between shareholder and stakeholder capitalism.
My Master’s thesis analyzed the rise of passive investment in American finance by asking why certain firms adopted index funds and not others. Index funds faced tremendous resistance within the industry due to their lower profitability for firms; conversely, they found many advocates among stakeholders¬– academics, journalists, and consumers. I find that the spread of information technologies among incumbents, in addition to the innovation of new entrants, played a key role in reducing barriers to adoption.
Technological change and the cultures of the technology industry have surfaced as themes within my research. My dissertation will examine these themes further by studying employee activism in the U.S. technology industry as an organizational phenomenon. I am a founding member of a community archiving and media project called Collective Action in Tech. Over the past two years, we have gathered over 500 instances of protests in the technology industry around the world. In my dissertation, I will answer three questions on employee activism: (1) why does employee activism occur?, (2) who becomes an employee activist?, and (3) what is the impact of employee activism on the firm? My research will integrate the archival data I have gathered with existing data sets on labor markets and firm share prices for regression analyses and will also incorporate interviews with both employee activists and non-activists. While my study will be limited to the U.S. technology industry, my hope is that findings about employee populations, management practices, and workplace cultures can apply more broadly to workplaces with a heavy “tech” influence.
My research has been featured in The Guardian, MIT Technology Review, NBC News, NPR, The LA Times, and TIME and has been funded by the Jain Family Institute, the Center for Technology, Society, and Policy, and the Berkeley Culture Initiative.
Prior to graduate school, I worked in finance and journalism. I earned a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard College and an M.A. in Sociology from Columbia University.