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Ezra W. Zuckerman Sivan

Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Faculty Director, Sloan PhD Program

Affiliations:

Economic Sociology PhD Program (co-founder and co-director)

TIES (Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Strategic Management) Group

Behavioral Policy Sciences Area (head)

Title: Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Contact Info:
MIT Sloan School of Management, E62-488
Cambridge, MA 02142

(617) 253-1918 (phone)
(617) 253-2660 (fax)
ewzucker@mit.edu

CV (probably needs updating)


Welcome to my website.  Thanks for visiting. 

I hope you find the materials I have posted here to be valuable.  If you have comments on anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.

There are two principal types of materials on this website: research papers and essays.  The research papers and book reviews were written for publication in academic journals, though some of them have not been published and some may never be submitted for publication.  The essays were written at various times for various purposes.  (There are also some pieces that are sort of in-between (not surprising since classification is always crude). 

BTW, many people who know me professionally as “Ezra Zuckerman” wonder what the story is with my full name—“Ezra Zuckerman Sivan.”  Conversely, people who know me outside of work tend to become acquainted with me as “Ezra Sivan.”  The key thing to know is that I answer to both, so you cannot make a mistake.  If you’re interested in the story, see the bottom of this page.


Research Papers

The papers (and vaporware) posted here cover a variety of topics/questions, organized by the following keywords.  (Note that each paper is listed under more than one keyword.  This suggests where the points of overlap are, and also has the benefit of making it look like I am more productive than is actually the case.  Please let it be our little secret.

 

Keywords

·         Classification/Categorization in Markets (most recent paper: January 2013)

·         Conformity, Differentiation, and Deviance (most recent paper: February 2015)

·         Corporate Strategy (most recent paper: January 2013)

·         Cultural Expression and Fashion (Given names) (most recent paper: February 2015)

·         Financial Markets-- how they work, don’t work, and could be made to work better (most recent paper: March 2014)

·         Identity—Definition, origins, how it both affects action and is affected by it (most recent paper: 2011)

·         Labor markets, typecasting as a mechanism driving wedge between skill and position (most recent paper, 2005)

·         Learning (and lack thereof)—within organizations, via the market, via institutions that correct for the market’s weaknesses (most recent paper, 2010)

·         Production of culture (Hollywood) (most recent paper: 2006)

·         Rationality and irrationality, Function and dysfunction (most recent paper: 2011)

·         Social networks, general

·         Social networks, the advantages and disadvantages of various positions and configurations   (most recent paper: 2008)

·         Social networks, how economic activity is “embedded” in strong ties (most recent paper: 2014)

·         Social status—logic of advantage and morality-based disadvantage to high status (most recent paper: 2015)

·         Theory of the firm/formal organization (as distinct from markets and other institutions) (most recent paper: 2014)

·         Team diversity and productivity (most recent paper: 2007)

·         Valuation—constructionism, realism, and contrarianism,  (most recent paper: 2012)

Classification/Categorization in Markets

·         The Categorical Imperative Revisited

o    To be published in Research in Sociology of Organizations

o    Date of first draft: September 2015

·         Betrayal as Market Barrier: Identity-Based Limits to Diversification among High-Status Corporate Law Firms

o    Co-authors: Damon Phillips and Catherine Turco

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2013

·         Typecasting and Generalism in Firm and Market: Genre-Based Career Concentration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of publication [Research in Sociology of Organizations]: 2005

·         Structural Incoherence and Stock Market Activity

o    Date of publication [American Sociological Review]: 2004

·         Shrewd, Crude, or Simply Deluded? Comovement & the Internet Stock Phenomenon (erratum)

o    Co-author: Hayagreeva Rao

o    Data of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change]: 2004

·         Robust Identities or Non-Entities? Typecasting in the Feature Film Labor Market

o    Co-authors: Tai-Young Kim, Kalinda Ukanwa, and James von Rittmann

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2003

·         The Critical Trade-Off: Identity Assignment and Box Office Success in the Feature Film Market

o    Co-author: Tai-Young Kim

o    Date of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change]: 2003

·         Middle Status Conformity: Theoretical Restatement and Empirical Demonstration in Two Markets

o    Co-author: Damon Phillips

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2001

·         Focusing the Corporate Product: Securities Analysts and De-Diversification

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2000

·         The Categorical Imperative: Securities Analysts and the Illegitimacy Discount

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 1999

·          Mediating the Corporate Product, PhD Thesis

o    Date of acceptance [University of Chicago]: 1997

Conformity, Differentiation, and Deviance

·         Optimal Distinctiveness Revisited: An Integrative Framework for Understanding the Balance between Differentiation and Conformity in Individual and Organizational Identities

o    Forthcoming, Handbook of Organizational Identity

o    Date of this draft: January 2015

·         When Politics Froze Fashion: The Effect of the Cultural Revolution on Naming in Beijing

o    Co-authors: Jiayin Zhang and Elena Obukhova

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: September 2014

·         Betrayal as Market Barrier: Identity-Based Limits to Diversification among High-Status Corporate Law Firms  

o    Co-authors: Damon Phillips and Catherine Turco

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2013

o    An earlier version

·         A Lack of Security or a Lack of Capital? Acculturative Conservatism in Immigrant Naming

o    Co-authors: Jiayin Zhang and Elena Obukhova

o    Date of most recent version: September 2014

·         Why Was There No Fashion in Mao’s China? Effects of Politics on Culture in the Case of Chinese Naming Practices

o    Date of most recent posting: June 2011

·         Middle Status Conformity: Theoretical Restatement and Empirical Demonstration in Two Markets

o    Co-author: Damon Phillips

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2001

Corporate Strategy

·         Betrayal as Market Barrier: Identity-Based Limits to Diversification among High-Status Corporate Law Firms  

o    Co-authors: Damon Phillips and Catherine Turco

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2013

·         Focusing the Corporate Product: Securities Analysts and De-Diversification

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2000

·         The Categorical Imperative: Securities Analysts and the Illegitimacy Discount

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 1999

·          Mediating the Corporate Product, PhD Thesis

o    Date of acceptance [University of Chicago]: 1997

Cultural Expression and Fashion

·         Optimal Distinctiveness Revisited: An Integrative Framework for Understanding the Balance between Differentiation and Conformity in Individual and Organizational Identities

o    Forthcoming, Handbook of Organizational Identity

o    Date of this draft: January 2015

·         When Politics Froze Fashion: The Effect of the Cultural Revolution on Naming in Beijing

o    Co-authors: Jiayin Zhang and Elena Obukhova

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: September 2014

·         Construction, Concentration, and (Dis)Continuities in Social Valuations

o    Annual Review of Sociology 38: 223-245

·         A Lack of Security or a Lack of Capital? Acculturative Conservatism in Immigrant Naming

o    Co-authors: Jiayin Zhang and Elena Obukhova

o    Date of most recent version: September 2014

·         Why Was There No Fashion in Mao’s China? Effects of Politics on Culture in the Case of Chinese Naming Practices

o    Date of most recent posting: June 2011

Financial Markets-- How they work, don’t work, and could be made to work better

·         So You Think You Can Dance? Lessons from the US Private Equity Bubble

o    Date of publication Sociological Science]: 2014.

o    Lead author: Catherine Turco

·         Market Efficiency: A Sociological Perspective

o    Date of publication (Handbook of the Sociology of Finance]: 2012

·         What if We Had Been in Charge: The Sociologist as Builder of Rational Institutions

o    Date of Publication [Research in the Sociology of Organizations—“Markets on Trial”]: 2010

·         Structural Incoherence and Stock Market Activity

o    Date of publication [American Sociological Review]: 2004

·         Comment: Towards the Social Reconstruction of an Interdisciplinary Turf War 

o    Date of publication [American Sociological Review]: 2004

o    Important note on this debate and why some things I wrote in the published version are inaccurate

·         Shrewd, Crude, or Simply Deluded? Comovement & the Internet Stock Phenomenon (erratum)

o    Co-author: Hayagreeva Rao

o    Data of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change]: 2004

·         Focusing the Corporate Product: Securities Analysts and De-Diversification

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2000

·         The Categorical Imperative: Securities Analysts and the Illegitimacy Discount

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 1999

·          Mediating the Corporate Product, PhD Thesis

o    Date of acceptance [University of Chicago]: 1997

Identity—Definition, social foundations; how it both affects action and is affected by it (*)

·         For papers relevant to this topic, see also those listed under “Classification...,” “Conformity…,” and “Social status

·         Why Identity? A Prolegomenon to any Account of Social Organization or Human Action

o    Under revision. 

·         The Problems and Promise of Hierarchy: A Sociological Theory of the Firm

o    Co-author: Bob Freeland

o    Date of most recent version: September 2014

·         Speaking with One Voice: A “Stanford School” Approach to Organizational Hierarchy

o    Date of publication [Research in the Sociology of Organizations—“Stanford’s Organization Theory Renaissance”]: 2010

·         All in the family: Reply to Burt, Podolny, and van de Rijt, Ban, and Sarkar

o    Co-author: Ray Reagans

o    Date of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change, in Symposium on Structural Holes]: 2008

·         Identity Imperatives

o    Date of original completion: 2008

o    No longer in circulation.  Contact me if interested

·         What Makes You Think You're So Popular? Self-Evaluation Maintenance and the Subjective Side of the "Friendship Paradox"

o    Co-author: John T. Jost

o    Date of publication [Social Psychology Quarterly]: 2001

Rationality and irrationality, Function and dysfunction

·         Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Irrational Overcommitment in Commitment to an Industry Peer Network

o    Co-author: Stoyan Sgourev

o    Date of publication [Rationality and Society]: 2011.

·         Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Embeddedness Failure in the Pharmaceutical Industry

o    Co-authors: Pierre Azoulay and Nelson Repenning

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2010

·         See also my essay “Bringing (Crude) Functionalism Back in

 

Labor markets, typecasting as a mechanism driving wedge between skill and position

·         Typecasting and Generalism in Firm and Market: Genre-Based Career Concentration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of publication [Research in Sociology of Organizations]: 2005

·         Robust Identities or Non-Entities? Typecasting in the Feature Film Labor Market

o    Co-authors: Tai-Young Kim, Kalinda Ukanwa, and James von Rittmann

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2003

Learning (and lack thereof)—within organizations, via the market, via institutions that corrects for the market’s weaknesses

·         Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Embeddedness Failure in the Pharmaceutical Industry

o    Co-authors: Pierre Azoulay and Nelson Repenning

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2010

·         Peer Capitalism: Parallel Relationships in the U.S. Economy

o    Co-author: Stoyan Sgourev

o    Publication date [American Journal of Sociology]: 2006

·         How to Make the Team: Social Networks vs. Demography as Criteria for Designing Effective Projects

o    Co-authors: Ray Reagans and Bill McEvily

o    Publication date [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2004

·         Networks, Diversity, and Performance: The Social Capital of Corporate R&D Teams

o    Co-author: Ray E. Reagans

o    Publication date [Organization Science]:  2001

·         See also the papers listed under “Financial markets…

Production of culture (Hollywood)

·         Do Firms and Markets Look Different? Repeat Collaboration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of most recent posting: 2006

·         Typecasting and Generalism in Firm and Market: Genre-Based Career Concentration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of publication [Research in Sociology of Organizations]: 2005

·         Robust Identities or Non-Entities? Typecasting in the Feature Film Labor Market

o    Co-authors: Tai-Young Kim, Kalinda Ukanwa, and James von Rittmann

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: 2003

Social networks, general

·         On Networks and Markets

o    Date of publication [Journal of Economic Literature]: 2003

·         See also my essay, “Why Social Networks are Overrated:  Downsides of the Commensuration that Underlies Social Network Analysis

Social networks, the advantages and disadvantages of various positions and configurations

·         A Shortcut to Efficiency? Implications of the Small but Stratified World

o    Co-author: Ray Reagans

o    Date of most recent posting: August 2008

·         Why Knowledge Does Not Equal Power: The Network Redundancy Trade-Off  (A note for use with this paper)

o    With Ray E. Reagans, Industrial and Corporate Change, 2008 (in Symposium on Structural Holes)

·         All in the family: Reply to Burt, Podolny, and van de Rijt, Ban, and Sarkar

o    Co-author: Ray Reagans

o    Date of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change, in Symposium on Structural Holes]: 2008

·         How to Make the Team: Social Networks vs. Demography as Criteria for Designing Effective Projects

o    Co-authors: Ray Reagans and Bill McEvily

o    Publication date [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2004

·         Networks, Diversity, and Performance: The Social Capital of Corporate R&D Teams

o    Co-author: Ray E. Reagans

o    Publication date [Organization Science]:  2001

·         Social Capital and Opportunity in Corporate R&D: The Contingent Effect of Contact Density on Mobility Expectations

o    Co-author: Shaul Gabbay

o    Publication date [Social Science Research]: 1998

Social networks, how economic activity is “embedded” in strong ties

·         In Either Market or Hierarchy, but Not in Both Simultaneously: Where Strong Ties Are Found in the Economy

o    Publication date [Research in the Sociology of Organizations]: 2014

·         Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Irrational Overcommitment in Commitment to an Industry Peer Network

o    Co-author: Stoyan Sgourev

o    Date of publication [Rationality and Society]: 2011.

·         Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Embeddedness Failure in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Co-authors: Pierre Azoulay and Nelson Repenning

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2010

·         Embeddedness for Control, for Compatibility, or by Constraint?  Within-Network Exchange in the Selection of Home Remodelers

o    Date of most recent posting: May 2008

 

·         Peer Capitalism: Parallel Relationships in the U.S. Economy

o    Co-author: Stoyan Sgourev

o    Publication date [American Journal of Sociology]: 2006

·         Do Firms and Markets Look Different? Repeat Collaboration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of most recent posting: 2006

·         On Networks and Markets by Rauch and Casella, eds.

o    Date of publication [Journal of Economic Literature]: 2003.

Social status—logic of advantage and morality-based disadvantage to high status

·         For papers relevant to this topic, see also those listed under “Classification...,” “Conformity…,” and “status”

·         The Denigration of Heroes: How the Status Attainment Process Shapes Attributions of Considerateness and Authenticity.

o    Co-author: Oliver Hahl

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology]: September 2014

·         It’s the Conventional Thought That Counts: The Origins of Status Advantage in Third-Order Inference

o    Co-authors: Shelley Correll, Cecilia Ridgeway, Sara Bloch Sharon Jank

o    Date of most recent version: April 2012 (abstract here; full version available upon request)

 

Theory of the firm/formal organization (as distinct from markets and other institutions)

·         The Problems and Promise of Hierarchy: A Sociological Theory of the Firm

o    Co-author: Bob Freeland

o    Date of most recent version: September 2014

·         In Either Market or Hierarchy, but Not in Both Simultaneously: Where Strong Ties Are Found in the Economy

o    Publication date [Research in the Sociology of Organizations]: 2014

·         Speaking with One Voice: A “Stanford School” Approach to Organizational Hierarchy

o    Date of publication [Research in the Sociology of Organizations—“Stanford’s Organization Theory Renaissance”]: 2010

·         Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Embeddedness Failure in the Pharmaceutical Industry

o    Co-authors: Pierre Azoulay and Nelson Repenning

o    Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2010

·         Do Firms and Markets Look Different? Repeat Collaboration in the Feature Film Industry, 1933-1995

o    Date of most recent posting: 2006

Team diversity and productivity

·         On Firmer Ground: The Collaborative Team as Strategic Research Site for Verifying Network-Based Social Capital Hypotheses

o    Co-authors: Ray Reagans and Bill McEvily

o    Publication date [The Missing Link, Rauch ed.]: 2007

·         How to Make the Team: Social Networks vs. Demography as Criteria for Designing Effective Projects

o    Co-authors: Ray Reagans and Bill McEvily

o    Publication date [Administrative Science Quarterly]: 2004

·         Networks, Diversity, and Performance: The Social Capital of Corporate R&D Teams

o    Co-author: Ray E. Reagans

o    Publication date [Organization Science]:  2001

Valuation—constructionism, realism, and contrarianism

·         Construction, Concentration, and (Dis)Continuities in Social Valuations

o    Annual Review of Sociology 38: 223-245

 

·         All in the family: Reply to Burt, Podolny, and van de Rijt, Ban, and Sarkar

o    Co-author: Ray Reagans

o    Date of publication [Industrial and Corporate Change, in Symposium on Structural Holes]: 2008

·         See also the papers listed under “Financial markets…

 

Book Reviews

·         Review of Powell and Padgett, Emergence of Organizations and Markets

o    Date of publication [Contemporary Sociology]: November 2014

·         Review of Spillman’s Solidarity in Strategy

o    Date of publication [American Journal of Sociology], 2014.

·        Review of Bearman’s Doormen

o   Date of publication [Administrative Science Quarterly], 2008

·         On Networks and Markets by Rauch and Casella, eds.

o    Date of publication [Journal of Economic Literature]: 2003.

Essays etc.

·          

·         Words in memory of my late father, Alan S. Zuckerman

o    At Brown Political Science Department memorial event, January 2010

·         Why Social Networks are Overrated:  Downsides of the Commensuration that Underlies Social Network Analysis

o    Essay published in May 2010 issue of Perspectives: Newsletter of the American Sociological Ass’n Theory Section (revision of this essay)

·         Tips to Article-Writers

o    2008. Some thoughts on how to write good, publishable papers

·         Economic Sociology of Organizations

·         Essay published in the Fall 2006 issue of Accounts: A Newsletter of Economic Sociology

·         Bringing (Crude) Functionalism Back In

o    Essay Prepared for Spring 2003 issue of Accounts: A Newsletter of Economic Sociology

·         Some Notes on the Relationship between Sociology and Economics (and Political Science): Cross-Disciplinary Citation Patterns over the 20th Century

o    Written in 2003—boy could you do a lot more given the tools available now!

·         Fall 2008 posts as guest-blogger on orgtheory.net

o    Self-Interest and the Financial Meltdown (Part I)

o    Self-Interest and the Financial Meltdown (Part II)

o     Help Me Obi-Wan Bernanke Youre My Only Hope

o    Realists, Constructionists, and Lemmings Oh My! (Part I)

o    Realists, Constructionists, and Lemmings Oh My! (Part II)

o    Let Us Now Praise Short-Term Profits

o    Why Social Networks Are Overrated (a 3 when they are at best a 2+)

 

Other Links

Story of My Name

The short version of the story of my name is as follows.  My birth certificate gives my name as ”Ezra Wyatt Zuckerman.”  This is also the name (well, with the middle initial) with which I began my career and under which I continue to publish.  (Note though that at 8 days old, I was also given a Jewish name at my bris/circumcision ceremony-- עזרא מלך בן אברהם זלמן or “Ezra Melech son of Avraham Zalman” and that is still my name for Jewish ritual purposes.  This common Jewish practice of having a “Jewish name” and a “secular name” has interesting implications for naming fashion; see here). 

 

In 1996, shortly before my wife Lisa gave birth to our first child, we added the name "Sivan" to our existing last names (hers was Wasserman) so that we would have a common family name (“Sivan” is the only last name held by the four children with whom we have been blessed—Jack, Nina, Jesse, and Libby).  The Chicago judge who issued the name change wondered why we didn’t do this when we first got married; you would have thought that he would have just enjoyed the break from the dreary probate cases he was presiding over.

 

Over the years, we have run into a few other families that have adopted the same approach to choosing a family name (not that we expected it would become fashionable).  Insofar as it does not fit easily into conventional practice, it can lead to some difficulty, but none that cannot be managed pretty easily.  It also has some advantages: it can be a nice opener for conversation in our (hopefully) multicultural, tolerant age, and it is a great way to gain insight into the foundations of identity—a topic that greatly interests me.

 

Of course, I am sometimes called by other names, which are unprintable here.   Most of the time, this is not done to my face, and so I can remain blissfully unaware of it.  (See here for some thoughts on this issue).