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Daisy Chung

Cass Business School, City University London 
Graduated in 2014
Advisor: Steve Barley

WTO prides itself on training organizational researchers who want to make a career out of studying some configuration of work, technology, and organization using the most effective methods for the problem at hand. Although we certainly drink from the firehose of organizational and sociological theory for the first few years, our choice of research projects is fundamentally grounded in the phenomena. As a result of my training, I consider myself an ethnographer who seeks an interesting phenomenon first and worries about theory development later. I feel that I have both the conceptual breadth and methodological flexibility to transform data into significant and impactful publications. In a nutshell, the heart of WTO’s game – and its great strength – is that it pushes students to seek out new problems and become experts in new territory. I have no doubt that my future projects will reflect this spirit and will keep me excited about doing organizational research throughout my career.

Stine Grodal

Boston University
Graduated in 2007
Advisor: Steve Barley

Choosing a PhD program is hard. I traveled to visit most of the top business schools before choosing to come to WTO. My first exposure to the students and faculty at WTO won me over. I felt instantaneously part of a community of scholars. Being a student at WTO was fun, inspiring, and transformative. The faculty at WTO have built an amazing environment of mentorship and collegiality that is unprecedented. The training that I received has prepared me well for the innovative and demanding job of being a faculty member in a business school. What is even better it has provided me with a life-long network of friends and colleagues that I continue to draw on to advance my scholarly work to this day. My years at Stanford were some of the best of my life.

Paul Leonardi

Northwestern University
Graduated in 2007
Advisors: Steve Barley and Diane Bailey

I came to WTO with a background in Communication Studies and was a bit apprehensive about joining a Ph.D. program in an engineering school. I quickly discovered that I actually had a lot to say to engineers and that they were quite interested in how social science research could provide insights that could help design better technologies and better organizations. Just like ethnographers, engineers are empiricists who want to understand how and why the world works. After nearly four years working in the WTO I am now confident in my ability to translate insights from social scientific research into implications for technology design, implementation and use. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the study of work in technical settings to consider all they can learn from studying at WTO.

Tsedal Neeley

Harvard Business School
Graduated in 2007
Advisor: Pam Hinds

My time at WTO, and at Stanford as a whole, was life-changing! WTO’s philosophy of using fieldwork to closely examine work and work practices led me to discover firsthand how powerful knowledge creation can stem from observing the everyday realities at the workplace. Being deeply embedded in an organization revealed aspects of language and globalization’s effects on work that had never been considered in the organizations’ literature. Furthermore, at WTO there was always an ongoing project around me that knew no bounds, and observing such projects and doing my own taught me to design field studies that are large in scope and scale. My experience at WTO and Stanford led directly to the project I am currently studying: the language and globalization process of an organization across nine countries. I would have never been able to design and implement this type of study had it not been for my training at WTO.