ILR School


Diane Burton -- Thoughts and Insights on Employment and Technology


ILR School
Associate Professor


I am a faculty member in the ILR School at Cornell University. My primary appointment is in human resource studies with courtesy appointments in organizational behavior and sociology. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2009, I was a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. I started my academic career at the Harvard Business School teaching leadership and organizational behavior. I earned my Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University and served as a lecturer and researcher in organizational behavior and human resources management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Teaching Statement

I teach students at all levels -- from first-year students through executives. I have extensive experience teaching by the case method. I have also taught on-line and via distance learning. I earned a masters degree in education with a concentration in technology and curriculum design.

Research Statement

I am an organizational sociologist interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. I study how management systems affect firms and individuals.
My primary research is a major study of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley including the study of entrepreneurial teams and executive careers. More recently I have been studying R&D teams. I am also studying leadership in the non-profit sector and employment practices in law firms.

Service Statement

I am an active and enthusiastic contributor to two major initiatives: Entrepreneurship@Cornell and Business@Cornell.

Outreach Statement

I serve on the advisory board for the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) and am a regular contributor to executive education and certificate programs that are run by the ILR School.


Journal Articles

  • Mary Diane Burton. 2016. Misfit and Milestones: Structural Elaboration and Capability Reinforcement in the Evolution of Entrepreneurial Top Management Teams, Academy of Management Journal . (DOI:amj.2014.0526)
  • Mary Diane Burton, Jesper B Sorensen, Stanislav D Dobrev. 2016. A Careers Perspective on Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice . 40(2):237-247. (DOI:10.1111/etap.12230)
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman. 2008. Founding the Future: The Evolution of Top Management Teams from Founding to IPO, Organization Science . 19(1):3-24.
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman, O’Reilly. 2007. Early Teams: The Impact of Team Demography on VC Financing and Going Public, Journal of Business Venturing . 22(2):147-173.
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman. 2007. Leaving a Legacy: Role Imprints and Successor Turnover in Young Firms, American Sociological Review . 72:239-266.
  • Mary Diane Burton, J N Baron, M T Hannan. 2001. Labor Pains: Organizational Change and Employee Turnover in Young, High-Tech Firms, American Journal of Sociology . 160(4):960-1012.
  • Mary Diane Burton, M T Hannan, J N Baron. 1999. Building the Iron Cage: Determinants of Managerial Intensity in the Early Years of Organizations, American Sociological Review . 64(4):527-547.
  • Mary Diane Burton, M T Hannan, J N Baron. 1999. Engineering Bureaucracy: The Genesis of Formal Policies, Positions, and Structures in High-Technology Firms, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization . 15(1):1-41.
  • Mary Diane Burton, M T Hannan, J N Baron. 1996. Inertia and Change in the Early Years: Employment Relations in Young, High-Technology Firms, Industrial and Corporate Change . 5(2):503-536.
  • Mary Diane Burton, J N Baron, M T Hannan. 1996. The Road Taken: The Origins and Evolution of Employment Systems in High-Tech Firms, Industrial and Corporate Change . 5(2):239-275.
  • Mary Diane Burton, D B Grusky. 1992. A Quantitative History of Comparative Stratification Research, Contemporary Sociology . 21(5):623-631.


  • Lisa Cohen, Mary Diane Burton, Michael D. Lounsbury. 2016. The Structure of Work. in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group, 2016.

Book Chapters

  • Mary Diane Burton, Lisa Cohen, Michael D. Lounsbury. 2016. BRINGING JOBS BACK IN: TOWARDS A NEW MULTI-LEVEL APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF WORK AND ORGANIZATIONS. in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group, 2016. Lisa Cohen, M. Diane Burton, Michael Lounsbury. (Submitted)
  • Mary Diane Burton. 2012. Internal Labor Markets Revisited. in Economy and Society: Essays in Honor of Michael J. Piore. Cambridge, MA, United States: MIT Press, 2012. Paul Osterman. (Accepted)
  • Christine M Beckman, Mary Diane Burton, . 2011. Bringing organizational demography back in: Time, change and structure in top management team research. in Handbook of Top Management Team Research. Edward Elgar, 2011. Mason A. Carpenter. (Accepted)
  • Mary Diane Burton, P. C. Anderson, H. E. Aldrich. 2009. Beyond Ownership: Rethinking Founding Team Membership. in New Firm Creation in the United States: Preliminary Explorations with the PSED II Data Set. New York, NY, United States: Springer, 2009. P.D. Reynolds and R. T. Curtin.
  • C. B. Schoonhoven, Mary Diane Burton, P. D. Reynolds. 2009. Reconceiving the Gestation Window: Consequences of Competing Definitions of Firm Conception and Birth. in New Firm Creation in the United States: Preliminary Explorations with the PSED II Data Set. New York, NY, United States: Spring, 2009. P.D. Reynolds and R. T. Curtin.
  • Mary Diane Burton, P Osterman. 2004. Ports and Ladders: The Nature and Relevance of Internal Labor Markets In A Changing World. in Oxford Handbook on Work and Organization. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2004. P.Tolbert and R. Batt.
  • Mary Diane Burton, J B Sorensen, C Beckman. 2002. Coming from Good Stock: Career Histories and New Venture Formation. in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Oxford, United Kingdom: JAI Press, 2002. Michael Lounsbury and Marc J. Ventresca. (229-262)
  • Mary Diane Burton. 2001. The Company They Keep: Founders’ Models for Organizing New Firms. in The Entrepreneurship Dynamic: Origins of Entrepreneurship and the Evolution of Industries. Stanford, CA, United States: Stanford University Press, 2001. C.B. Schoonhoven and E. Romanelli. (13-39)

Book Reviews

  • Mary Diane Burton. 2008. Review of Staircases or Treadmills by Chris Benner, Laura Leete and Manuel Pastor. Administrative Science Quarterly, 2008. (756-8)
  • Mary Diane Burton. 2003. Review of Headhunters: Matchmaking in the Labor Market by William Finlay and James E. Coverdill. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 2003. (555)

Selected Works

Selected Works is a service of BePress Publishing that helps readers follow a scholar''s most current work. View Selected Works of Mary Burton

Professional Activities

  • Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Presented to Cornell Institute for Social Sciences. Cornell University. 2016.
  • Cornell University. 2015.
  • The Changing Contours of Managerial Careers: The Case of Non-Profits. Presented to LERA. Boston. 2015.
  • Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Presented to Cornell Institute for Social Sciences. Cornell University. 2014.
  • Entrepreneurship and Employment: Job Creation, Job Quality and Career Trajectories. Presented to DRUID Society. Barcelona. 2013.
  • Presented to Academy of Management Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL. 2009.
  • Presented to UCLA, Anderson School of Management, Policy Research Seminar; Cornell University, Johnson School, Organizations and Management Seminar, Dartmouth College, Tuck; NYU Stern School. Anaheim, CA. 2008.
  • Presented to Boston College, Carroll School of Management, Winston Center for Leadership Seminar; Boston University, School of Management, Strategy & Policy Seminar; Duke University, Fuqua School, Strategy Area Seminar; MIT/Portugal Organizational Behavior Seminar, Lisbon; Ohio State University, Fischer College of Business, Management & Human Resources Seminar; Wharton Macro-HR Conference. Philadelphia, PA. 2007.
  • Presented to Carnegie Mellon University, SETChange Seminar; Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Human Resources Seminar; INSEAD, Singapore, Entrepreneurship Seminar; University of Kansas, School of Business, Distinguished Scholar Seminar; University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management, Strategy. Atlanta, GA. 2006.
  • Presented to University of Virginia, Darden School, Organizational Behavior; Harvard/MIT. harvard Business School. 2005.
  • Presented to University of Maryland, Wharton School Center. 2005.
  • Seattle, WA. 2005.
  • Driving Innovation throughout the Organization. Presented to Case Western Reserve; MIT ILP. New Orleans, LA. 2004.
  • New Models of Strategic HRM: An International Perspective. Presented to Cornell University. Seattle, WA. 2003.
  • Initiative for Studies of Technology Entrepreneurship (INSITE) Seminar. Presented to Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Denver, CO. 2002.
  • Presented to Academy of Management. Washington D.C. 2001.
  • Presented to Academy of Management, Wharton Management Department. Toronto, Canada. 2000.
  • Presented to American Sociological Association, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. Chicago, IL. 1999.
  • Presented to Academy of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management Industrial Relations Seminar. San Diego, CA. 1998.
  • Presented to Academy of Management. Cincinnati, OH. 1996.
  • Presented to Haas School of Business, University of California. Berkeley, CA. 1995.
  • Los Angeles, CA, Atlanta, GA. 1994.
  • Asilomar, CA. 1993.
  • Presented to American Sociological Association. Chicago, IL. 1987.

Honors and Awards

  • Lady Davis Fellow, Lady Davis Fellowship Trust. 2016
  • Fred Kayne (1960) Career Development Professorship, MIT Sloan School. 2005
  • Ray Stata Outstanding Contributor, Center for Quality of Management, Cambridge, MA. 2003
  • Michael M. Koerner ’49 Career Development Professorship, MIT Sloan School. 2001
  • Class of 1961 Fellow, Harvard Business School, Harvard University. 1999
  • Cilker Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, Stanford University. 1993
  • Stanford University Fellowship, Department of Sociology, Stanford University. 1989
  • Edith Alexander Award for Best Undergraduate Thesis, Carnegie Mellon University. 1987
  • Vira I. Heinz Travel Study Award, Carnegie Mellon University. 1986

### Areas of Expertise

Art, media, entertainment

Change and development

Complex organizations

Curriculum development


Employee development

Entrepreneurial firms

Executive development, education, and coaching

High Performance Work Systems

Human Resources

Human capital measurement

Human resources management

Incentives and performance

Industry Studies


Instructional design


Leadership development

Management coaching and development

Management development

Occupations and Professions


Performance management

Practice and strategy

Strategic planning

Strategic tactics


Survey Research

Systems design

Technology and work

Workplace cultures

Other Areas of Expertise

Industry Studies, High Technology, Non-Profit and Professional Services, Leadership Training and Development

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