Stephen Barley

Distinguished Professor, Technology Management

Christian A. Felipe Professor, Technology Management

Stephen R. Barley is the Christian A. Felipe Professor of Technology Management at the College of Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara.  He holds an AB. in English from the College of William and Mary, an M.Ed. from the Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Prior to coming to UCSB, Barley served for ten years on the faculty of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He then moved to Stanford where he was the Richard Weiland Professor of Management Science and Engineering, the Associate Chair of the Department of Management Science and Engineering (2011-2015), and the Co-founder and co-director of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization at Stanford's School of Engineering from 1994-2015. He was editor of the Administrative Science Quarterly from 1993 to 1997 and the founding editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review from 2002 to 2004.
Barley serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Discoveries, the Academy of Management Annals, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Research in the Sociology of Work, Information and Organization and the Journal of Organizational Ethnography. He has been the recipient the Academy of Management's New Concept Award and was named Distinguished Scholar by the Academy of Management’s Organization and Management Theory Division in 2006, the Organization Communication and Information Systems Division in 2010 and the Critical Management Studies Division in 2010.  Barley has been a fellow at Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management.   In 2006 the Academy of Management Journal named Barley as the author of the largest number of “interesting” articles in the field of management studies.  In 2018 he won Conrad Arensberg Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Anthropology of Work by the American Anthropological Society.
Barley was a member of the Board of Senior Scholars of the National Center for the Educational Quality of the Workforce and co-chaired National Research Council and the National Academy of Science's committee on the changing occupational structure in the United States. The committee's report, The Changing Nature of Work, was published in 1999. He also served on the National Academies' (NRC) committee on the Information Technology Research and Development Ecosystem (2006-2008) and the National Academies' Committee on Automation and the Workforce (2015-16).
Barley has written over a hundred articles on the impact of new technologies on work, the organization of technical work, and organizational culture.  He edited a volume on technicians' work entitled Between Craft and Science: Technical Work in the United States published in 1997 by the Cornell University Press. In collaboration with Gideon Kunda of Tel Aviv University, Barley authored Gurus, Hired Guns and Warm Bodies: Itinerant Experts in the Knowledge Economy, an ethnography of contingent work among engineers and software developers published by the Princeton University Press in 2004.  His most recent book, Work and Technological Change will be published by the Oxford University Press in December, 2020.
Barley teaches courses on the organizational implications of technological change, organizational theory, social network analysis and ethnographic field methods. He has served as a consultant to organizations in a variety of industries including publishing, banking, computers, electronics and aerospace.
Barley is currently researching corporate power in the United States, the rhetorical history of entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence and work, and how successful entrepreneurs build organizations to manage their private lives.


Recent Papers
Bailey, D. E, Barley, S. R., and Leonardi, P. (forthcoming) “Wrestling with Digital Objects and Technologies in Studies of Work” In G. Symon, C. Hine, K. Pritchert (Eds.) Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization: Investigating Distributed, Multi-modal and Mobile Work. Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. R. and Beane, M. (2020) “How Should We Study Intelligent Technologies’ Implications for Work and Employment?”  In S. Barley. Work and Technological Change.  Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. R. (2020) “What is a Technological Revolution”.  In S. Barley. Work and Technological Change.  Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. R. (2020) “How Do Technologies Change Organizations?”  In S. Barley. Work and Technological Change.  Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. R.  and D. Bailey. (2020) “Managing the Fears of Studying Technical Work.”  In S. Barley. Work and Technological Change.  Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.
D. E. Bailey and S. R. Barley (2020) “Beyond Design and Use: How Scholars Should Study Intelligent Technologies.Information and Organization. 30(2):1-12
Kaynak, E. and S. R. Barley. (2019) “Shaping the political environment: An ethnography of public affairs professionals at work.Work and Occupations. 4:265-306.
Barley, S. R. (2019) “Working Institutions” Pp. 12-31 in Reay T., Zilber, T., Langley, A. & Tsoukas, H. (Eds.), Institutions and Organizations: A Process View, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. R. (2019) “About organizational socialization at the MIT Sloan School of Management – For Ed Schein.” Pp 46-56 in G. Fatze, J. Van Maanen, D. Schmid and W. Weber (Eds.),  Ed Schein: The Spirit of Inquiry.  Innsbruck, Austria: University of Innsbruck Press.
Brunhaver, S. R., Korte, R. F., Barley, S. R., and Sheppard, S. D. (2018). “Bridging the gaps between engineering education and practice.” Pp. 128-168 in R. Freeman & H. Salzman (Eds), U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Rahman, H. and S. R. Barley. (2017) “Situated redesign in creative occupations – An ethnography of architects.Academy of Management Discoveries. 3:404-424.
Van de Ven, A, R. Adner, S. Barley, D. Dougherty, J. Fountain, A, Hargadon, M. Kamlet, B. Karlin and M. Schilling. (2017) “Increasing benefits and reducing costs to society of technological innovations.” Behavioral Science and Policy. 3:93-103.
Barley, S.R., B.A. Bechky, and F. Milliken. (2017) “The changing nature of work: Careers, identities, and work lives in the 21st century.Academy of Management Discoveries. 3:111-115.
Valdes, G. and S. R. Barley. (2016) “Be careful what you wish for: Why the need to learn causes trouble for knowledge workers and their families.Work and Occupations. 43:466-501
Barley, S. R., B. A. Bechky, and B. J. Nelson. (2016) “What do technicians mean when they talk about professionalism? An ethnography of speaking.Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 47:125-161.
Barley, S. R. (2016) “60th anniversary essay: Ruminations on how we became a mystery house and how we might get out.Administrative Science Quarterly, 61:1-8.


Barley, Stephen R. (Forthcoming, December 2020) Work and Technological Change.  Oxford, ENG: Oxford University Press.

Work and Technological Change

Barley, Stephen R. and Kunda, Gideon.  (2004)  Gurus, Hired Guns and Warm Bodies: Itinerant Experts in a Knowledge Economy.  Princeton, NJ:


Kochan, Thomas A., Barley, Stephen R. et al.  (1999) The Changing Nature of Work and Its Implications for Occupational Analysis.  National Research Council: Washington, D.C.

Changing nature of work

Barley, Stephen R. and Julian Orr. (Eds)  (1997).   Between Craft and Science: Technical Work in the United States.  Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

Between Craft and Science


Best Reviewer Award, Academy of Management Discoveries.  August 2019.
Conrad Arensberg Award, Lifetime Contribution to the Anthropology of Work.  American Anthropological Society. November 2018
Distinguished Speaker.  International Symposium on Process Organization Studies.  Kos, Greece.  June, 2016
Clarendon Lectures.  Oxford University, Oct. 2016.
Laurent Picard Distinguished Lecture, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal Sept. 2016
Distinguished Scholar, Critical Management Studies Division, Academy of Management. 2010
Distinguished Scholar, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division, Academy of Management. 2010.
Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA.  2008-2009
Joan Woodward Distinguished Lecturer, Imperial College, London 2008
Fellow, Academy of Management.  2007-present.
Author of the largest number of interesting papers.  2006.  Academy of Management Journal.
Distinguished Scholar, Organization and Management Theory Division, Academy of Management. 2006
IBM Fellow, 2005-2006
Current Research


Entrepreneurial Ideology and Employment Relations
           This project with Robert Eberhart at Stanford analyzes the the rhetorics of entrepreneurship and their relation to changes in the nature of employment relations over the past 50 years.
Helping Entrepreneurs Manage their Private Lives
            Successful entrepreneurs and other wealthy individuals find they need to build organizations to help manage their private lives. To overcome the combined pressures of work and demands of managing property, civic involvement and families, successful entrepreneurs often employ full-time personal assistants, housekeepers, nannies, drivers, pilots, grounds keepers, and members of other occupations.  Paul Leonardi, Camille Endicott (doctoral student in Communications), Virginia Leavell (doctoral student in TMP) and I have been studying the work done by members of such occupations for wealthy families in both Santa Barbara and the Silicon Valley. Ours is the first contemporary study of those who help wealthy individuals manage their lives outside of work.




TMP 433: Organization Design and Innovation (Masters of Technology Management Course)
We live in a psychologically oriented culture.  When we try to explain what occurs in an organization and why it occurs, we usually favor accounts that feature individuals’ personalities or interpersonal dynamics. Without doubt psychology, especially social psychology, tells us a great deal about why people and teams do what they do and how to manage them.  But there are structural and cultural aspects of organizations that also shape behavior in organizations and the actions that organizations take.  These topics are the domain of organizational sociologists and anthropologists who tend to view organizations as social systems. This course will focus on how structural and cultural dynamics shape organizations, the behavior of people within them and the probability of innovation.  The course covers such topics as differences in formal organizational structures, the importance of informal organizational structures conceived of as networks, sources of innovations, how space and time structure work processes, and the social structure and cultures of science and engineering and how the two differ. Throughout we ask how these phenomena influence an organization’s ability to innovate.
TMP 272:  Organization Theory (Doctoral Seminar)
This course is designed as an intensive seminar that introduces students to major streams of theory and research in macro-organizational theory.  The course takes a historical approach.  We cover topics in roughly the order that they have emerged since the early 20th Century (and in a few cases before).  The course will provide you with the theoretical foundation for doing your own research on organizations from various perspectives including industrial sociology, contingency theory, resource dependency theory, population ecology, neo-institutional theory and network theory.
TMP 283Ethnographic Field Methods (Doctoral Seminar)
This course is designed as an intense practicum in participant observation in an ethnographic tradition.  Although reading methods texts and research reports written by fieldworkers is crucial for learning to do ethnography, it is not enough.  Just as you cannot understand the intricacies of survey, archival, or experimental research without doing a study, so you cannot fully understand ethnography unless your work in the field.  Accordingly, the course has six substantive objectives:
  • To provide experience in doing participant observation and ethnographic interviewing.
  • To develop skills at recording, coding, and analyzing observational data.
  • To develop skills at eliciting, recording, coding and analyzing data through ethnographic interviews.
  • To learn to build grounded theory using the constant comparative method.
  • To learn how to evaluate and write ethnography.
  • To provide an opportunity to do a potentially significant piece of applied research


Former and Current Ph.D. Students
Year of Degree
Ph.D. From
Gordon Meyer
Cornell ILR
Professor Emeritus of Management
Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
David Morand
Cornell ILR
Professor, Management
Penn State, Harrisburg
Hans Dieter-Meyer
Cornell ILR
Professor, Education Administration and Policy Studies
SUNY, Albany
Ralph Hybels
Cornell ILR
Leadership in Medicine, Norwich, VT
Scott Siebert
Cornell ILR
Professor, Human Resource Management
Rutgers University
Asaf Darr
Cornell ILR
Senior Lecturer, Sociology and Anthropology
University of Haifa, Israel
Bonalyn Nelsen
Cornell ILR
Associate Professor, Business Administration
American University of Iraq, Sulaimani
Lee Fleming
Stanford MS&E
Professor Industrial Eng.and Op. Research
UC Berkeley
Mario Scarselletta  
Cornell ILR
Division, VP Global Employee Relations
Corning, Inc.
Neil Kane
Stanford MS&E
Director, Global Purchasing
Beth Bechky
Stanford MS&E
Professor, Management & Organizations
New York University
Kieth Rollag
Stanford MS&E
Professor, Management
Babson College
Siobhan O’Mahony
Stanford MS&E
Professor, Strategy and Innovation
Boston University
Fabrizio Ferraro
Stanford MS&E
Professor, Strategic Management
IESE, Barcelona
James Evans
Stanford Sociology
Professor, Sociology
University of Chicago
Soong Moon Kang
Stanford MS&E
Professor, Management
University College London
Stine Grodal
Stanford MS&E
Associate Prof. Strategy and Innovation
Boston University
Andrew Nelson
Stanford MS&E
Associate Prof. of Management
University of Oregon
Paul Leonardi
Stanford MS&E
Professor Technology Management
U.C. Santa Barbara
Dana Wang
Stanford MS&E
Isaac Waisberg
Stanford MS&E
Lecturer Labor Studies
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Kurt Sandholtz
Stanford MS&E
Professor Management
Brigham Young University
Dan Morales
Stanford MS&E
Director, People Analytics
Daisy Chung
Stanford MS&E
Senior Lecturer Organizational Behavior
City University, London
Yosem Companys
Stanford MS&E
Thomas Haymore
Stanford MS&E
Gonzalo Valdes
Stanford MS&E
Assistant Professor, School of Economics and Business
University of Talca, Chile
Zach Rogers
Stanford MS&E
Hatim Rahman
Stanford MS&E
Assistant Professor, Management & Organizations
Ece Kaynak
Stanford MS&E
Lecturer Organizational Behavior
City University, London
Danielle Bovenberg
PhD in Progress
Virginia Leavell
PhD in Progress