I study how people come to acceptand simultaneously fight againstorganizations' bids to control their work and their bodies. Within these processes, I am particularly interested in how organization members collaborate, in pairs and larger groups, in what I call agency work; that is, in actions that reassert their ability to choose. Because I view agency as grounded in relationships, I pay special attention to the relational work people do in organizations as they encounter relationship threats and engage in relational repair. 

An excellent place to see agency and relational work in action is in new ventures seeking to scale.

During growth, old ways of coordinating may prove insufficient; old methods of decision-making tend to fall short. Founders often find themselves operating at the edge of their capacity as they try to keep control. So, too, do early employees, sometimes called "joiners," whose contributions to the success of scaling efforts may be essential—but whose resistance to scaling efforts is equally storied, if less sufficiently understood. How do founders and early employees together negotiate the changes growth requires? And what do they experience along the way?

My work at the intersection of entrepreneurship and organizational behavior seeks to address the people side of the "problem of scaling." Specifically, I approach this critical stage in an organization’s development using the lenses and theoretical grounding of organizing—that is, specific practices members enact together, over time, that allow collaborative structures to emerge. In this way, I answer calls to explicate the tenuous process through which startups transition into more established firms. I see my work as helping to uncover the micro- and meso-level processes that bring about new venture growth. To this nascent—and growing—field of inquiry, I bring my strengths as an inductive researcher, along with a treasury of both quantitative and qualitative data collected within scaling ventures over time.

I group my projects into two categories, or streams. The first seeks to elucidate how the interactions of members, from founders to the front line, (de)construct forms (e.g., rules and procedures) and structures (e.g., roles and professional divisions) in the new, larger organization. The second stream takes a closer look at the relational experiences of members as these forms and structures take hold.

Please click here to access my growing CV.