Klaus Weber
Klaus Weber

Associate Professor of Management & Organizations

Print Overview

Klaus Weber is an Associate Professor of Management & Organizations. He is also affiliated with the Department of Sociology, the Ford Company Center for Global Citizenship and the Northwestern Institute for Sustainability and Energy.

His research is grounded in cultural and institutional analysis, with substantive interests in the political economy of globalization, the intersection between social movements and the economy, sustainability and social enterprise.

Klaus’ research has been published in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Harvard Business Review. His published work has won best paper awards at the American Sociological Association and the SYNTEC Conseil en Management. He has been a senior editor at Organization Science and has guest edited volumes for Organization Studies and Organization Science.

At Kellogg, Klaus teaches MBA courses on sustainability, social innovation, and power and influence; and doctoral seminars on cultural theory, text analysis and research methods.

Professor Weber received his PhD from the University of Michigan and joined the Kellogg faculty in 2003.

Areas of Expertise
Corporate Social Responsibility
Environmental Sustainability
Organizational Change
Organizational Culture

Print Vita
PhD, 2003, Organization and Management Theory, University of Michigan
MS, 1995, Industrial Relations, London School of Economics
BA, 1994, European Studies and Business, ESB Reutlingen & Middlesex University

Academic Positions
Associate Professor, Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2010-present
Assistant Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2003-2010

Grants and Awards
ASQ Award for Scholarly Contribution, Administrative Science Quarterly, 2014
Faculty Award for Diversity, Northwestern Graduate School, 2014
Best Article Award, Prix Académique SYNTEC Conseil en Management, 2009
Clifford Geertz Best Article Prize, American Sociological Association, Section on Culture, 2009
Sidney J. Levy Teaching Award, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, 2007-2008, 2005-2006
Renis Likert Prize for Best Paper from Dissertation in Organization Studies, University of Michigan, 2005
Barry M. Richman Best Dissertation Award, International Management Division, Academy of Management, 2004

Editorial Positions
Consulting Editor, Sociological Science, 2013-present
Guest Editor, Special Issue on Social Movements, Civil Society and Corporations, Organization Studies, 34(5-6), 2013
Guest Editor, Special Issue on The Cultural Construction of Organizational Life, Organization Science, 22(1), 2011
Associate Editor, Organization Science, 2010-2013
Editorial Review Board, Administrative Science Quarterly, 2009-2013
Editorial Review Board, Organization Studies, 2009-2013
Editorial Review Board, Organization Science, 2008-2010

Print Research
Research Interests
Cultural and institutional theory; sensemaking, social movements and organizations, environmental sustainability, globalization and development.

Weber, Klaus and S. Giorgi. Forthcoming. Marks of distinction: Framing and audience appreciation in the context of investment advice. Administrative Science Quarterly.
Birkinshaw, Julian, Mark P. Healey, Roy Suddaby and Klaus Weber. 2014. Debating the future of management research. Journal of Management Studies. 51(1): 38-55.
De Bakker, F, Frankden Hond, Brayden King and Klaus Weber. 2013. Social Movements, Civil Society and Corporations. Organization Studies. 34(5-6): 573-593.
Weber, Klaus and Tina M Dacin. 2011. The Cultural Construction of Organizational Life. Organization Science. 22(2): 286-298.
Plambeck, Nils and Klaus Weber. 2010. When the Glass is Half-Full and Half-Empty: CEOs Ambivalent Interpretations of Strategic Issues. Strategic Management Journal. 31: 689-710.
Weber, Klaus, L. G. Thomas and Hayagreeva Rao. 2009. From Streets to Suites: How the Anti-Biotechnology Movement Affected German Pharmaceutical Firms. American Sociological Review. 74(1): 106-127.
Weber, Klaus, Gerald F Davis and Michael Lounsbury. 2009. Policy as Myth and Ceremony? The Global Spread of Stock Markets, 1980-2005. Academy of Management Journal. 52(6): 1319-1347.
Plambeck, Nils and Klaus Weber. 2009. CEO Ambivalence and Responses to Strategic Issues. Organization Science. 20(6): 993-1010.
Weber, Klaus, Kathryn L. Heinze and Michaela deSoucey. 2008. Forage for Thought: Mobilizing Codes in the Movement for Grass-Fed Meat and Dairy Products. Administrative Science Quarterly. 53(3): 529-567.
Weber, Klaus and MaryAnn Glynn. 2006. Making Sense with Institutions: Context, Thought, and Action in Karl Weick's theory. Organization Studies. 27(11): 1639-1660.
Weber, Klaus. 2006. From Nuts and Bolts to Toolkits: On Theorizing with Mechanisms. Journal of Management Inquiry. 15(2): 119-123.
Weber, Klaus. 2005. A Toolkit for Analyzing Corporate Cultural Toolkits. Poetics. 33(3-4): 227-252.
Walsh, James P., Klaus Weber and Joshua D. Margolis. 2003. Social Issues and Management: Our Lost Cause Found. Journal of Management. 29(6): 859-881.
Sutcliffe, Kathleen M. and Klaus Weber. 2003. The high cost of accurate knowledge. Harvard Business Review. 81(5): 74-82.
Walsh, James P. and Klaus Weber. 2002. The prospects for critical management studies in the American Academy of Management. Organization. 9(3): 402-410.
Book Chapters
Weber, Klaus and Sara Soderstrom. 2015. "Sustainability Discourse and Capitalist Variety: A Comparative Institutional Analysis." In Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World, edited by K. Tsutsui and A. Lim, 218-248. Cambridge University Press.
Weber, Klaus and Brayden King. 2014. "Social Movement Theory and Organization Studies." In Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents, edited by Paul Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan and Mike Reed, 487-509. Oxford University Press.
Whitson, Jennifer, Klaus Weber and Paul Hirsch. 2013. "Chemicals, Companies, and Countries: The Concept of Diffusion in Management Research." In Research in Organizational Behavior, 135-160.
Weber, Klaus, Hetal Patel and Kathryn Heinze. 2013. "From Cultural Repertoires to Institutional Logics: A Content-Analytic Method." In Institutional Logics in Action, Part B. of Research on the Sociology of Organizations, edited by Michael Lounsbury and Eva Boxenbaum, vol. 38, 351-382. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd..
Weber, Klaus and Sara Soderstrom. 2011. "Social Movements." In Oxford Handbook of Business and the Environment, edited by Pratima Bansal and Andrew Hoffman, 248-265. Oxford, UK.
Weber, Klaus. "Institutions and entrepreneurship." Administrative Science Quarterly.
Weber, Klaus. "NGOs and Organizations: Conflict and collaboration." Administrative Science Quarterly.
Weber, Klaus and Sara Soderstrom. "Corporate Sustainability Agendas from the Bottom Ap." European Business Review.

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests
MBA: Managing Environmental Sustainability, Social Innovation and Intrapreneurship, Enterprise Models for Social Change, CSR, Power & Influence, Managing Change. PhD: Organization Theory, Economic Sociology, Cultural Theory, Text Analysis, Research Methods.
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Enterprise Models for Social Change (KIEI-941-0)
This course takes a community-centric approach to social innovation. It is not a public economics course that takes the viewpoint of a powerful policy maker, or a CSR course that takes the viewpoint of a corporate leader. The course maps a rigorous process that starts with a deep understanding of the intended beneficiaries of social innovations and a community’s social eco-system. It then describes three alternative intervention and development approaches (community development, design thinking and systems-based); and evaluates the full range of enterprise models to best deliver and scale resulting social innovation in a sustainable way. The term “enterprise model” stands for any entrepreneurial way of organizing for social returns. Enterprise models can range from traditional for-profits and non-profits to hybrids, informal community organizing, impact investing and complex cross-sectoral partnerships. The course is suited for students who want to drive social innovation in corporations, start-ups, governments and civil society organizations, as well as for consultants, analysts and investors who need to understand community dynamics or evaluate the quality of enterprise models.

Social Intrapreneurship (KIEI-943-A)

This course counts toward the following majors: Social Enterprise

Formerly SEEK-940-A

Do you plan to pursue a “regular” career in marketing, finance, operations, or consulting at a major company? Would you also like to make a positive impact on the world, not just in your spare time but at your workplace? This class is designed for those who wish to connect their values to their “daytime job,” beyond personal ethics. It is about leading social innovation from the bottom up rather than the top, and hence especially suitable for early career professionals. The course provides a framework and practical toolkit for how to identify opportunities, get support and navigate the corporate landscape in promoting social and environmental issues. We draw on case analyses and the first-hand experiences of guest speakers who have succeeded (or not) in driving social and environmental change in the companies they work with – creating new products, business lines and organizational policies that are both financially viable and achieve outcomes that extend beyond profits.

Thought Leadership Seminar (KPPI-484-0)
Thought leadership seminars undertake an in-depth exploration of a particular topic in the interactive setting of a small class. The goal is to develop the ability to independently research and critically analyze information, form and defend a conclusion, and find original solutions to business and public issues. Thought leadership seminars cover fundamental knowledge, current thinking, and key open questions. Class sessions often take the form of seminar-style group discussions, debates, and presentations where students take an active part in shaping the learning. Students may also engage with original research, thought leaders and complex cases. The seminars require a willingness to challenge yourself and others, understand and take diverse positions, and bring to class a high degree of energy and mental agility. Different topics are offered as separate sections under the same course number, KPPI-484. Please consult the instructors’ syllabi for the content of the seminar.

Power In Organizations: Sources, Strategies and Skills (MORS-453-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Human Resource Management, Management & Organizations.

Power dynamics are fundamental to the effective exercise of leadership in organizations. This course develops your ability to create and use sources of power beyond formal authority, to formulate strategies and tactics of political and social influence, and to exercise skills that make you a more effective organizational leader. Readings, case materials, course assignments and a field action project focus on the challenge of sustainable political advantage in organizations - the rules of the game, basic power diagnostics, the management of strategic dependencies and persuasion processes, and working in entrepreneurial contexts. Throughout, the course raises issues of career dynamics in the context of the development of your leadership abilities.

Macro-Organizational Research Methods (MORS-426-2)
This course offers an introduction to empirical social science methods with particular attention to issues relevant to organizational research done outside the laboratory. It focuses on questions of research design – how to turn a research question into an empirical study that can answer the question. Organizational research employs a plurality of methods and the course is designed to allow students to fully understand, evaluate and employ different methods. The course offers a survey of the most common non-experimental research approaches in organization studies, strategic management and economic sociology, examines their logic of inquiry, and evaluates the relative advantages. In addition, we examine how common challenges, such as measurement, causality and multi-level data structures, are addressed across designs. In practice, modes of scientific inquiry not only involve empirical designs for data collection and inference, but also genres of motivating, writing and publishing research, and so the course addresses these aspects as well.