Compare courses
Register

Videos

Jesper Sørensen : How to Be A Strategic Leader

Biography

Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor of Organizational Behavior

Research Statement

Jesper B. Sørensen specializes in the dynamics of organizational and strategic change, and their implications for individuals and their careers. His research on firm outcomes has focused on the impact of organizational structure and culture on organizational learning, performance and innovation. His work of the dynamics of teams has led to new insights concerning how people respond to changes in the racial composition of their workgroups. Sørensen has most recently published a number of papers on the ways in which work environments shape the decision to become an entrepreneur. He is currently interested in how investors and consumers make sense of new products or ventures that leverage radically new innovations, and the strategic implications of these processes.

Research Interests

  • Careers
  • Organizations
  • Strategy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Inequality

Bio

Jesper B. Sørensen received his AB from Harvard College and his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. He is currently the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Professor in the Department of Sociology (by courtesy). Prior to working at Stanford, Professor Sørensen was at the University of Notre Dame (1995-1996), the University of Chicago (1996-2000), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2000-2006).

Professor Sørensen is a sociologist who specializes in studying the dynamics of both organizations and careers, with work that covers a wide range of topics ranging from firm performance to social inequality. For example, his work has touched on a) how firm characteristics (e.g., organizational age, corporate culture, incentive systems) influence organizational learning and performance; b) the impact of career experiences on turnover rates and workplace diversity, as well as firm outcomes; c) the influence of local corporate demography on promotion chances and income inequality; d) the micro-structure of social class in the United States; and e) the influence of the work environment on individual rates of entrepreneurship.

Professor Sørensen won (with Toby E. Stuart) the 2006 Administrative Science Quarterly Award for Scholarly Contribution for the article “Aging, Obsolescence and Organizational Innovation” (ASQ, 2000). He also won the 2006 Teacher of the Year award from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Strategic Management Journal. Professor Sørensen has also been a Senior Editor at Organization Science and Department Editor for the Organizations Department at Management Science. In 2013, he co-founded Sociological Science, a nonprofit, open-access online journal devoted publishing the best in sociological research, where he is currently the Editor-in-Chief.

At Stanford, Professor Sørensen has served as a Faculty Director of the Center for Social Innovation, and is currently Faculty Director of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, known as Stanford Seed. Seed aims to enable business leaders in developing and emerging economies to lead their regions to greater prosperity. Seed operates regional and satellite centers in West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, and India, and in collaboration with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research supports university-wide research focused on improving the lives of the world’s poor through the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.

Born in Denmark but (mostly)raised and educated in the U.S., Professor Sørensen continues his life-long struggle with mispronunciations of his first name (“with a J but like a Y”) with a mixture of humor and (mostly) resignation.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Stanford University, 1996
  • AB, Harvard College, 1989

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2006
  • Associate Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2001-2006
  • Assistant Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2000-2001
  • University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Assistant Professor of Strategy, 1996-2000
  • University of Notre Dame, Assistant Professor of Sociology, 1995-1996

Awards and Honors

  • The Katherine and David deWilde Faculty Fellow, 2015-present
  • Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2010-2015
  • Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow 2008-2009
  • ASQ Award for Scholarly Contribution, Administrative Science Quarterly, 2006
  • Teacher of the Year, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2006
  • Richard S. Leghorn, Chair, MIT Sloan School of Management, 1993

Teaching

Degree Courses

2018-19

OB 654: Organizational Behavior Pro Seminar

This pro-seminar is primarily for OB-macro PhD students who are developing dissertation ideas. The focus is on the theoretical argument underpinning the dissertation research. Students will regularly present and comment upon one another''s ideas....

STRAMGT 207: Strategic Leadership

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...

2017-18

OB 654: Organizational Behavior Pro Seminar

This pro-seminar is primarily for OB-macro PhD students who are developing dissertation ideas. The focus is on the theoretical argument underpinning the dissertation research. Students will regularly present and comment upon one another''s ideas....

2016-17

STRAMGT 207: Strategic Leadership

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...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

  • The Emerging COO: Driving Innovation and Operational Excellence Drive and sustain innovation and operational excellence. Strengthen collaboration with C-suite leaders to translate strategies into actionable plans.
  • Executive Leadership Development: Analysis to Action Learn to lead with confidence in this rigorous general management program for executives on the verge of achieving even greater things.
  • Executive Program in Strategy and Organization Effectively diagnose and solve problems using proven frameworks for executing change in this multidisciplinary strategic management course.
  • Seed Transformation Program – India Gain​​ ​​management training​ and networking ​support in this leadership program ​for established business leaders in India.
  • Stanford Executive Program: Be a Leader Who Matters Learn to generate change, inspire innovation, and instill excellence at this six-week executive program.
  • Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate In this online program, learn innovation, intrapreneurship, and how to create organizational change.
  • Stanford-NUS Executive Program in International Management Explore international management, strategy, and leadership perspectives from both sides of the Pacific Rim with NUS Business School and Stanford GSB.

Insights by Stanford Business

videoJesper Sørensen: How Do You Define A New Product Category?

June 4, 2015

A professor of organizational behavior explains why nailing market identity right out of the gate is critical to successfully launching an innovative product.

videoJesper Sørensen: How to Be a More Strategic Leader

May 22, 2015

A professor of organizational behavior explains why strategic thinking is key to taking an idea to the next level.

writtenStudying Social Networks in Developing Worlds: Five Key Insights

January 30, 2015

Stanford scholars discuss their experiences in the field.

writtenRisk: The Recommended List

December 15, 2014

Learn more about risk and other related topics.

writtenJesper Sørensen: Why Do Entrepreneurs Take the Leap?

September 12, 2014

If sudden wealth is not the likely outcome of starting a company, what motivates someone to take the risk?

writtenJesper Sørensen: How Do You Explain a New Product Category?

October 1, 2013

A game-changing idea can win or lose depending on how quickly the consumer “gets” it.

writtenWhy Are Some Geographic Areas So Entrepreneurial?

September 1, 2009

A professor of organizational behavior says working with former entrepreneurs makes individuals more likely to start their own businesses.

Show more

Read about executive education

Cases

House of Tara: Building an African Beauty Company | IDE-09 Jesper Sorensen, Laurent De Clara2015

Innovation at Caterpillar: The D7E Tractor | SM223 Glenn R. Carroll, David Hoyt2014

ZipDial: Reaching The Next 3 Billion Consumers | IDE07 Jesper B. Sørensen, Laurent De Clara2014

Health Leads (A) Expansion Decisions for a Health Care Nonprofit | SM192A Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

Health Leads (B): Entering the “Proof Period” | SM192B Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

d.light, Selling Solar to the Poor | IDE03 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

EcoPost, Financing a Green Startup in Africa | IDE02 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Mobius Motors: Building an African Car | IDE01 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Siemens: Building a Structure to Drive Performance and Responsibility (A) | SM181A Sara Leslie, Jesper Sorensen2010

SIEMENS: BUILDING A STRUCTURE TO DRIVE PERFORMANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY (B) | SM181B Jesper Sørensen, Sara Gaviser Leslie2010

Xerox and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) | SM187 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2010

Note On Organizational Culture | OB69 Jesper Sorensen2009

As Green As It Gets | OB71 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2008

House of Tara: Building an African Beauty Company | IDE-09 Jesper Sorensen, Laurent De Clara2015

Innovation at Caterpillar: The D7E Tractor | SM223 Glenn R. Carroll, David Hoyt2014

ZipDial: Reaching The Next 3 Billion Consumers | IDE07 Jesper B. Sørensen, Laurent De Clara2014

Health Leads (A) Expansion Decisions for a Health Care Nonprofit | SM192A Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

Health Leads (B): Entering the “Proof Period” | SM192B Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

d.light, Selling Solar to the Poor | IDE03 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

EcoPost, Financing a Green Startup in Africa | IDE02 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Mobius Motors: Building an African Car | IDE01 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Siemens: Building a Structure to Drive Performance and Responsibility (A) | SM181A Sara Leslie, Jesper Sorensen2010

SIEMENS: BUILDING A STRUCTURE TO DRIVE PERFORMANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY (B) | SM181B Jesper Sørensen, Sara Gaviser Leslie2010

Xerox and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) | SM187 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2010

Note On Organizational Culture | OB69 Jesper Sorensen2009

As Green As It Gets | OB71 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2008

House of Tara: Building an African Beauty Company | IDE-09 Jesper Sorensen, Laurent De Clara2015

Innovation at Caterpillar: The D7E Tractor | SM223 Glenn R. Carroll, David Hoyt2014

ZipDial: Reaching The Next 3 Billion Consumers | IDE07 Jesper B. Sørensen, Laurent De Clara2014

Health Leads (A) Expansion Decisions for a Health Care Nonprofit | SM192A Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

Health Leads (B): Entering the “Proof Period” | SM192B Jesper Sorensen, Debra Schifrin, Kevin Hettrich2013

d.light, Selling Solar to the Poor | IDE03 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

EcoPost, Financing a Green Startup in Africa | IDE02 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Mobius Motors: Building an African Car | IDE01 Gina Jorasch, Michael Kennedy, Jesper Sorensen2012

Siemens: Building a Structure to Drive Performance and Responsibility (A) | SM181A Sara Leslie, Jesper Sorensen2010

SIEMENS: BUILDING A STRUCTURE TO DRIVE PERFORMANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY (B) | SM181B Jesper Sørensen, Sara Gaviser Leslie2010

Xerox and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) | SM187 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2010

Note On Organizational Culture | OB69 Jesper Sorensen2009

As Green As It Gets | OB71 Victoria Chang, Jesper Sorensen2008

Show more

Other experts

PHONE 412-268-6505 OFFICE GSIA - Tepper School of Business - Room 141 AREA OF EXPERTISE Finance EDUCATION Carnegie Mellon - Ph D - 1992 Queen''s University at Kingston - MA - 1987 University of Calgary - BA - 1984 TEACHING AND RESEARCH INTERESTS Market microstructure, asset prici...
Curriculum Vitae Marta Barbieri is SDA Professor of Public Management and Policy. At SDA Bocconi, she was Director of the Executive Education Custom Programs Division Public Administration, Health Care and Not for Profit Organizations. She also was responsible of the Executive Master in Managem...
Peter McCawley is an economist who has worked on Indonesian and Asian economic issues for many years. He is currently a visiting fellow in the Indonesia Project, ANU, and has recently (2014-2017) been Principal Author for a book about the 50-year history of the Asian Development Bank, based in Ma...