Walter W. Powell is Professor of Education (and) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, Public Policy, and Communication at Stanford University, and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. From 1999 to 2010, he was director of SCANCOR at Stanford; today he remains involved with Scancor through supervising the postdoctoral fellows program, attending the seminars, and running the annual PhD workshop in Europe. At Stanford, Powell is faculty co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.
Powell works in the areas of organization theory, economic sociology, and the sociology of science. His interests focus on the processes through which knowledge is transferred across organizations, and the role of networks in facilitating or hindering innovation and of institutions in codifying ideas. His most recent book, with John Padgett, is The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, Princeton University Press, 2012. This book culminates a decade- long project analyzing the role of networks in invention, transposition, and catalyzing social and economic transformation.
Powell is the author or editor of Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing, with Lewis Coser and Charles Kadushin (Basic Books, 1982); Getting into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing (U. of Chicago Press, 1985); The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, with Paul DiMaggio (U. of Chicago Press, 1991); Private Action and the Public Good, with Elisabeth Clemens (Yale U. Press, 1997); and The Nonprofit Sector, with Richard Steinberg (Yale U. Press, 2006). He received his PhD in Sociology from SUNY – Stony Brook in 1978, and previously taught at Yale, MIT, and the University of Arizona. He holds honorary degrees from Uppsala University, Copenhagen Business School, and the Helsinki School of Economics, and is a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.