My dissertation examines how network churn, the dynamic process of adding and removing ties from one’s network, unfolds over time to affect individual performance. The first chapter of my dissertation is a theoretical essay on the previously undefined elements of network churn and the empirical challenges of studying network change. The second chapter is an empirical study in which I measure the network changes underpinning the performance of individuals within an organizational context and tease apart the changes that are made by the individual and those that are imposed upon the individual’s network by others. I argue and find support for different types of churn (based on who initiated the change) having differential effects on performance. My third chapter examines the interdependencies between network churn and network structure. Both empirical studies will be conducted in a U.S. based corporate law firm and will be paired with iterative qualitative interviews with partners within the focal firm.
I am also interested in questions surrounding innovation, and particularly unusual technologies. In a working paper (with Melissa Schilling and Barak Aharonson, 2nd Round R&R at Organization Science), I look at the cognitive search processes individuals use to explore uncharted areas of the technological landscape. We propose and find support for three processes: recombinant synthesis, deduction, and long search paths that enable inventors to create outlier patents that are technologically distant from pre-existing patents.
Before joining the doctoral program I worked for Goodman Research Group (Cambridge, Massachusetts), where I conducted research on and evaluation of educational programs for clients, including LEGO, Discovery Channel, and NASA.
I graduated from Williams College in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology (with Honors) and Art History. I also played for the Williams Basketball team.