Curtis K. Chan is an ethnographer and qualitative field researcher whose interests focus on how people experience and navigate the tensions of their occupations and professions, within the context of their workplace organizations. He has studied how these experiences shape workplace gender inequality, surveillance dynamics, organizational control, professional reform, and professional legitimacy. Specializing in utilizing in-depth, inductive field studies to theorize novel, hidden processes of worker interpretation and experience, he has conducted studies of airport screeners at the Transportation Security Administration, consultants at a strategy consultancy, university career advisers in business schools, teachers at a Finnish school, and graphic facilitators.
Professor Chan’s scholarly research is published, forthcoming, or conditionally accepted in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Academy of Management Annals. He also has written pieces appearing in the Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, Work and Occupations, and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. His research has received distinctions such as the 2014 Best Student Paper Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management, the 2016 Saroj Parasuraman Award for Outstanding Publication on Gender and Diversity from the Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management, the 2017 Best Article Award from the Academy of Management Annals, and the 2021 ONE-SIM Outreach Award from the Organizations and the Natural Environment and Social Issues in Management Divisions of the Academy of Management. His research has been mentioned in media outlets such as The Atlantic, Axios, and Scientific American, as well as in popular books like Bob Sutton’s The Asshole Survival Guide and podcasts like Adam Grant’s WorkLife.
He has received a “Teaching Star” distinction from the Dean and teaching committee at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management for outstanding teaching, based on having received most favorable evaluations from students, while also challenging them intellectually. He was named one of the Poets&Quants Top 50 Undergraduate Professors Of 2020.
Professor Chan serves on the Editorial Review Boards for Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review and Organization Science.
He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and master’s degree in Sociology from Harvard University. Before entering graduate school, Professor Chan worked in the management and strategy consulting industry at the firm Innosight. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social anthropology and a secondary field in psychology from Harvard College, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. During college, he conducted ethnographic research on the cultural values of street dancers in New England and Miami, and the undergraduate thesis he wrote on this topic was awarded a Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding thesis research.
Professor Chan is on the Editorial Review Boards for Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, and Organization Science and has received a 2019 Outstanding Reviewer Recognition from the Academy of Management Review. He is a member of the Academy of Management, the American Sociological Association, and the Boston Field Research Community.