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Sarah A. Soule

Sarah A. Soule
Professor, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior
Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Academic Area: 
Organizational Behavior
Additional Administrative Titles
Louise & Claude Rosenberg Jr. Co-Director, Center for Social Innovation
Co-Director, LGBT Executive Leadership Program
Co-Director, The Innovation Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership Executive Program

Research Statement

Sarah A. Soule's research examines state and organizational-level policy change and diffusion, and the role social movements have on these processes. She has recently published papers on how protest impacts multi-national firm-level decisions regarding divestment in Burma, and on how advocacy organizations learn new strategies and tactics from those with which they collaborate. She is currently working on a study of how protest affects the outcomes of shareholder resolutions, and another study of how advocacy organizations innovate. She has published a book with Cambridge University Press, entitled Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility. Recent published work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Sociological Review, Organizational Studies, the Strategic Management Journal, and the Annual Review of Sociology.

Teaching Statement

Sarah A. Soule teaches courses on Strategy, Organizational Design, Redesigning Work, and Sustainable Food Systems.


Sarah A. Soule is the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business. Her major areas of interest are organizational theory, social movements, and political sociology. She has written two recent books, the first with Cambridge University Press, entitled Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility, and the second with Norton, called A Primer on Social Movements. She is the series editor for the Cambridge University Press Contentious Politics series. She is a member of the founding team of the new journal, Sociological Science, an open access journal that is disrupting academic publishing. She has served on a number of boards of non-profit organizations, is currently a member Board of Advisors to the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the Stanford Fellowship program, and is currently serving on the faculty advisory board to the Stanford Center for the Advancement of Women’s Leadership. She has taught a number of courses with the Stanford, and is the Faculty Director for the Executive Program on Social Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Business. She has served as a judge for the Center for Social Innovation Fellowship program, and for the Tech Awards (Tech Museum of Innovation).

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Sociology, Cornell University, 1995
  • MA in Sociology, Cornell University, 1991
  • BA in Sociology, University of Vermont, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2008

Awards and Honors

  • Hank McKinnell-Pfizer Inc. Faculty Fellow, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2014-2015


Journal Articles

Wooseok Jung, Brayden King, Sarah A. Soule. American Journal of Sociology. July 2014.
Sarah A. Soule, Anand Swaminathan, Laszlo Tihanyi. Strategic Management Journal . June 2013.
Dan Wang, Sarah A. Soule. American Journal of Sociology. July 2012.
Sarah A. Soule. Organization Studies. 2012.
Sarah A. Soule. Research in the Sociology of Organization. 2012.


Sarah A. Soule New York: Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2009.

Courses Taught

Degree Courses


Students will learn and apply several frameworks for organization design and human centered design. They'll also get a rare, in-person view into the fabric of industry-leading organizations during project work outside of class. They'll discover...

Americans spend nearly 7% of their income on food items and another 5% on food services annually (US Census). Food spend is at the intersection of two of the most important industries in the US: health care and agriculture. Food production today...


This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization's strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

Social movement actors have helped initiate some of the major social, cultural, and political changes of the modern era. It is hard to imagine a major political or social reform that did not find its origins in a social movement or collective...

Stanford Case Studies

Huntington Hospital (A): Empowering Staff | OB91(A)
Sarah Soule, Davina Drabkin2015
Huntington Hospital (B): Empowering Staff | OB91B
Sarah Soule, Davina Drabkin2015
Silicon Valley Bank: The On-Call Associates Program | OB88
Sarah A Soule, Davina Drabkin2014
LinkedIn Transformation Driven From Within | OB87
Sarah Soule, Michael Golomb, Debra Schifrin2013
Paragon Legal, A New Model (A) | OB81A
Shelley Correll, Debra Schifrin, Sarah Soule2012
Paragon Legal, A New Model (B) | OB81B
Shelley Correll, Debra Schifrin, Sarah Soule2012

Insights by Stanford Business

December 17, 2015
How a coin exchange company helped the federal government, and charities too.
April 30, 2015
Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.
April 30, 2015
Five Stanford scholars share their insights on the topic of reward.
January 5, 2015
Companies that are targeted by activists become more socially-responsible over time.
October 10, 2014
Activism has catalyzed progress, but companies can be slow to evolve. How can activists know that their efforts matter? And what is the evidence that their work makes a difference?
October 30, 2013
A Stanford scholar discusses a collaborative, human-centered approach to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
March 21, 2012
The "Food Inc." filmmaker and author suggests critics of today's industrial food system should focus more on social justice.

School News

January 7, 2016
The only program of its kind to be offered by a leading business school, Stanford LGBT Executive Leadership Program addresses the gap in LGBT leadership in the C-Suite.
October 30, 2015
The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership Executive Program is a groundbreaking academic partnership between Stanford’s schools of business and medicine.
February 18, 2014
Their goal: to speed the flow of research results and open access to ideas and knowledge.
April 1, 2009
Professors Anat Admati, Jonathan Berk, Charles Jones, Dale Miller, Jesper Sørensen, and Sarah Soule, have been honored with new academic titles.