About


Patricia H. Thornton is Adjunct Professor and an affiliate of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and Visiting Professor and affiliated faculty to the Program on Organizations, Business, and the Economy in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University where she teaches the social science of entrepreneurship. She has been a visiting scholar in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and Organizational Behavior at INSEAD. She holds a Ph.D. (1993) in Sociology from Stanford University.

Professor Thornton has served as an expert witness on mergers and acquisitions in the higher education publishing markets to the U.S. Department of Justice.  She co-found Interim Inc., a successful non-profit organization providing transitional and assisted living facilities and services to individuals with mental health disabilities.

She is a leading scholar of the Institutional Logics Perspective and a pioneer in developing the Action Learning Approach for teaching entrepreneurship.

Her research and teaching interests are innovation and entrepreneurship, social and cultural factors of entrepreneurship, organization theory, institutional and organizational change, institutional logics and public policy and strategic management, new venture management, and media industries.  She is published in the American Journal of Sociology, the Annual Review of Sociology, the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, among others. She received the W. Richard Scott award for the best scholarly research article by the OOW section of American Sociological Association and the award for the best scholarly paper by the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management. Her Stanford University Press book, Markets from Culture (2004) chronicles her cumulative research program on institutional logics and organization decisions in higher education publishing. Her Oxford University Press book with William Ocasio and Michael Lounsbury, The Institutional Logics Perspective: A New Approach to Culture, Structure and Process (2012) is a treatise on the new school in institutional analysis—the institutional logics perspective. Recently, she served as guest editor for the International Small Business Journal special issue on Socio-Cultural Factors and Entrepreneurial Activity. She currently is examining how the strategic management of institutional logics affects industry entry barriers and firm performance and how institutional logics affect entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intentions to start a business using data from 62 countries.

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