My classroom is a living-learning lab where students develop the capacity to analyze and navigate a complex and messy web of often hidden interpersonal, group, and organizational dynamics and paradoxes. I regularly stretch students out of their comfort zone, offering immersive, hands-on experiences in which students put analytical frameworks to the test and see what works best for them—given their unique personal and cultural experience. Students in my courses evolve from thinking, “there is no way I can do this,” or “I am not innovative or creative,” to having confidence in their ability to lead innovation and navigate complex interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
My teaching is informed by my research on how leaders and change makers work across cultures, disciplines, and networks to advance innovation, entrepreneurial ventures, and creative ideas. I am especially interested in the negotiated nature of collective creativity—how claims to control, legitimacy, and expertise are contested and managed in practice, and how leaders manage ambiguity throughout the creative process. I am also interested in gender and leadership outcomes—and how we can support women innovators and entrepreneurs across the globe advance novel solutions and change. As an ethnographer, I focus on the actual work of leaders as they engage these challenges. My research offers new insight into network brokerage as process and as a relational practice.
My research has been published in top-tier journals including Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ), Organization Studies, Poetics, Work and Occupations, and the Chronicle of Higher Education and featured in the New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Forbes, Fortune, and BBC Global news. My ethnographic research on music producers working in the Nashville country music industry was recognized as a best paper at the Davis Conference on Qualitative Research, and was chosen for the ASQ Editor’s Choice Collections as one of the top papers focused on networks and knowledge.
I have also had the wonderful opportunity to put my research into practice. Over the last decade, I have consulted nationally and led the launch of new programs and curricula around entrepreneurship, social innovation, design thinking, and creative enterprise for the public good, and been a Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, the nation's premier public policy think tank focused on art, culture, creative enterprise, and the creative workforce.
As a co-PI on WPI's ADVANCE Adaptation grant from the National Science Foundation (2018-2021), I am investigating structural and systemic biases and barriers within our Associate-to-Full promotion processes. This work has great potential to lessen gender inequity among the senior ranks of faculty, better align rewards with the breadth of our institutional mission and strengths, and serve as a national model for other STEM and project-based academic institutions.
Quartz at Work featured the article “Daughters of Working Mothers Grow Up to Be Just as Happy as Those of Stay-at-Home Moms,” which included research by Assistant Professor Elizabeth Long Lingo, Foisie Business School.