I am a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Princeton University, where I am affiliated with the Center for Information Technology Policy, and the Center for the Study of Social Organizations, and the Stewart Lab. I was in residence at Stanford for the past two years of my PhD, where I was affiliated with the Polarization and Social Change Laboratory, the Networks and Organizations Workshop, and the Economic Sociology Workshop. I do research at the intersection of organizational theory, social psychology, sociology of culture, and computational social science. My work brings social-psychological mechanisms out of the lab into complex real-life settings, develops new computational social science methods to operationalize theoretical ideas, and grounds these quantitative measures in ethnographic work.
My dissertation, "The Dynamics of Post-Bureaucracy: How Status Shapes Authority in Contemporary Organizations," combines computational and ethnographic methods in a study of the role of relative status in organizations where authority rights---the official right to give orders to a person---are decoupled from official positions. I find that these organizations use flat authority rights---anyone can make a justifiable request of anyone else---to encourage flexible coordination, foster commitment, and facilitate normative control. However, not everyone is equally willing or able to exercise these rights. Informal status hierarchies shape who exercises authority. People granted rights but lacking high status engage in what I term conspicuous forbearance: they publicly do extra work themselves or find indirect ways to make requests of their coworkers, increasing their status over time. Paradoxically, once they begin to give orders their status plateaus. Using relational event analysis, I also demonstrate that although status constrains people's attempts to exercise authority rights, both status and perceptions of group orientation affect whether these attempts are successful.
To make this argument, I draw on continuously-collected interactions among 41,000 individuals in 2,400 teams and small organizations taken in a task-and-project-management software I refer to as TaskFlow. From terabytes of software logs, I extract metadata that allow me to separately measure communication patterns (260 million messages sent), order giving (42 million tasks assigned), and acts of deference (42 million instances of seeking advice).
I ground these digital data in four months of participant observation I collected while working as a data scientist at the pseudonymous hotel-services startup GuestInn. GuestInn agreed to de-anonymize their TaskFlow metadata and link it to my fieldnotes. I used these linked data to validate the measures of communication, deference, and order-giving in the metadata and as the basis for a novel interview protocol. In order to longitudinally focus interviews, I created interactive displays of individuals' TaskFlow usage to guide semi-structured questions regarding their work histories.
In other projects, I examine post-bureaucratic processes in large bureaucratic organiztaions, develop and refine computational social science methods, and examine how formalization and materialization interacts with the fluid social processes of informal and flat coordination. Prior to my Ph.D., I worked for seven years in energy policy research and five years as the Chief Technology Officer of a startup developing software for guiding decision-making in large organizations. I have managed multiple large, complex collaborative research and development projects, culminating in ten publications and patents.