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Carroll School of Management

Leadership, Identity and Institutions


We are a research micro-community of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics consisting of Boston College doctoral students and faculty who study the intersection of Leadership, Identity and Institutions. Collectively, our work examines a diverse array of leadership processes and practices through the primary lenses of identity and institutional theories. Across our different research projects, we examine leadership dynamics, as well as their antecedents and effects, particularly as they relate to organizational identity; organizational members' identification, the institutionalization of organizational values, meaning and purpose, and network ties and structures. We use qualitative and quantitative methods that analyze a variety of data, including organizational interviews and discourse, archival texts, symbols and artifacts, historical narratives, surveys of individuals' attitudes, behaviors, and structured networks of relationships. Studying how leadership affects both change and persistence in organizations and institutions is a core theme.

Current members include: Mamta Bhatt, Rick Cotton, Rich DeJordy, Mary Ann Glynn, Ryan Raffaeli, Laura Singleton, Lee Watkiss, Dan Halgin (emeritus), and Ian Walsh (emeritus).  For more information, please contact Rich DeJordy, the 2007-08 Doctoral Fellow for the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, at A brief description of our members and their research interests follows.

Mamta Bhatt is a doctoral student in the Organization Studies department at Boston College. Her primary research interests include identity and identification, boundaries and boundary management, and non-traditional work arrangements such as contingent work.  Her dissertation explores relational identity construction in contingent workers who often straddle through insider-outsider boundaries at the client site. It is a qualitative study in which Mamta investigates how consultants’ perception of insider-outsider boundary at the client site relates with their relational identity vis-à-vis the client employees. The findings of this study will have implications for leadership in such settings, particularly in informing project leader's decisions regarding staffing and deployment, team orientation, and handling client relationships.

Rick Cotton is a 3rd year doctoral student whose research is primarily at the intersection of careers and postitive organizational scholarship, with a particular focus on developmental networks of persons to whom focal individuals ascribe career and psychosocial support in their quest for identity and extraordinary career achievement. His current research project focuses on analyzing the most important relationships of several groups of leaders inducted into halls of fame from different industries. Data collection and analyses are currently underway.

Rich DeJordy is a PhD Candidate in Boston College's Organization Studies Department. His research is in social conformity, focusing particularly on contextual, network, and identity based mechanisms. In particular, his recent research has focused on institutional theory and agency in institutional contexts.  His dissertation focuses on why and how leaders act as guardians of the values embedded in institutional arrangements, especially when they are contested. He is also co-author, with Mary Ann Glynn, of "Leadership Through an Organizational Behavior Lens: A Look at the Last Half-Century of Research," to be presented at the HBS Colloquium Leadership: Advancing an Intellectual Discipline, June, 2008.

Mary Ann Glynn is the Joseph F. Cotter Professor of Organization Studies and, by courtesy, Professor of Sociology at Boston College and Adjunct Professor at the Copenhagen Business School. She is the Inaugural Fellow and Research Director for the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics. Her current research projects focus on organizational identity, institutionalization processes, the positive dynamics of organizing and leadership.

Ryan Raffaelli is a 2nd year doctoral student at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. His research interests focus on institutional innovation and how shifts in institutional arrangements affect the dynamics of institutional fields and organizational boundaries. Ryan is currently studying institutional innovations that include corporate social responsibility programs, public-private sector partnerships, and value-infused leadership.

Laura Singleton is a 5th-year doctoral student at BC working on a dissertation regarding the role of purpose in cooperative systems, tracing its conceptual development from the seminal work of Chester Barnard.  Prior to starting the doctoral program, she spent several years as a researcher with the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative, co-authoring (with Tony Mayo and Nitin Nohria) the book Paths to Power:  How Insiders and Outsiders Shaped American Business Leadership.  She has also co-authored (with Tom Nicholas) a Harvard Business School case based on her primary source archival research into the social initiatives of William Norris and the Control Data Corporation.  Her research interests include the history of management and organizational thought, as well as phenomena of institutional change.  

Lee Watkiss is a 1st year doctoral student of Organization Studies at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. His research interests focus on how individuals and organizations make sense of their identities.

Dan Halgin (Emeritus) is a faculty member at the University of Kentucky who enjoys researching the interplay between network theory and identity dynamics and how these concepts influence leadership behavior. His current work investigates the role of network affiliation ties (defined as historical co-location employment overlaps) as determinants of career advancement, career resilience, and performance of organizational leaders. He focuses on clusters of affiliated leaders that make identity claims using family language and imagery and are recognized as network groups by external audiences.  Dan also investigates cultural influences on organizational leadership. 

Ian Walsh (Emeritus) is a Lecturer in Management at University College Dublin. He received his PhD in Organization Studies from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Walsh’s research focuses on redemptive organizing that transforms negatively construed conditions into constructive outcomes. His dissertation explored the role of organizational identification endurance in individuals’ participation in organizational afterlife, or the ongoing organizing that sustains valued organizational elements following an organization’s formal death. His research has recently appeared in Human Relations, Management and Organization Review, and Corporate Reputation Review.