I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laboratory for Innovation Science, a joint venture between Harvard's Business, Medical, and Engineering schools and headed by Karim Lakhani. I received my PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago, where I worked with James Evans to apply new computational social science techniques to study the evaluation and diffusion of scientific knowledge.
My research investigates how people create, share, and evalute new ideas, and how these processes are affected by organizational and cultural factors. I am particularly interested in the procedures organizations use to evaluate ideas and projects. Using computational and field experimental methods to examine real evaluation processes, I study how the socio-cultural context in which evaluations are made can bias outcomes, harming organizational effectiveness and reproducing social inequality. My goals are not only to understand how a particular method of evaluation promotes particular winners and losers, but to identify and test how strategic organizational design can improve decisions.
Part of my work examines evaluation processes in science. Drawing on sociology of knowledge, network analysis, and social psychology, I identify how seemingly meritocratic evaluation procedures can combine with experts’ positions in professional networks and culture to bias evaluations toward particular intellectual or social groups. These biases may affect resource allocation, hiring, and promotion decisions in organizations of all kinds. My other work investigates the organization of knowledge work online. In particular, I study diversity and performance in crowd-sourcing communities with a salient fault-line: political ideology. The last stream focuses on knowledge diffusion: how the flow of knowledge between communities of experts and other audiences can be stimulated or stymied by organizational factors.
Methodologically, I specialize in computational analysis of textual and interactional data, highly targeted surveys, and field experiments. I apply these tools to data and field settings provided by partners like Harvard Medical School, Elsevier, Public Library of Science, and Wikipedia. My research appears in journals including Research Policy, Sociological Science, and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and has been covered by MIT Technology Review and the Washington Post.
See the Projects page for more details.