Because my work focuses on unpacking social mechanisms in career and firm contexts, the main organizing principle linking my research is theoretical rather than topical. It stretches into empirical fields such as beer, jazz, or divorce

AOM 2019

Small, young firms have roughly 15% higher rates of divorce

Couples with job alignment have lower divorce hazards

Additional alignment advantage for couples with startup jobs

Creative destruction? Startups and divorce

Young ventures (small young and large young firm types) function as hotbeds of divorce

with Michael S. Dahl and Olav Sorenson


We argue for an organizational perspective on the relationship between professional and personal lives, proposing in particular that more stable organizations, those characterized by higher levels of bureaucracy, engender lower levels of marital instability among their employees. Consistent with this expectation, we find that startup employees have higher divorce rates compared to the employees of more established organizations. These results hold even when estimated using instrumental variables to account for selection into startup employment. But couple matching also matters. Couples in which both individuals work for startups – even if different ones – have some of the lowest levels of divorce. 


Read the working paper here


Network openness and deep success in jazz

Paradoxical network structures of forbidden triads are antecedents for diverse measures of success and innovation

with Balázs Vedres

This paper shows that while as a main tendency the strength of weak ties hypothesis holds, there are exceptional cases when strong ties are not organized in closed triads – these are the forbidden triads in Granovetter’s terms – and that these forbidden triads are key ingredients in creative success. We use two measures of forbidden triads to investigate the link between network structure and six dimensions of innovative performance. We develop the notion of deep success – success that spans the dimensions of insider versus outsider origin, and behavioral trace versus explicit judgment – and link it to forbidden triad composition of networks. We use data on 75 thousand jazz recording sessions spanning the entire history of recorded jazz to test our propositions.

Read the working paper on SSRN or SocArXiv.

Forbidden triad as conjuncture of dyadic collaborations

Forbidden triad as conjuncture of dyadic collaborations

Link between forbidden triads and six measures of innovative performance


Craft in distributor portfolios

Wholesaler consolidation

Crashing the momentum 

Who distributes craft beer?

Wholesalers able to leverage positional strategies locally and overcome relationship lock-in

with Ingo Kleindienst 


We identify which specific types of wholesalers were distributing products from an increasingly important niche segment of the beer industry, namely craft beer. As traditional recommendations of the strategy literature disregard lock-ins from previous market ties are present, we introduce the notion of social buffering to indicate the embeddedness of organizations into their history of cumulative relationships. We use longitudinal data on distributor establishments and their local portfolio composition between 1997–2016 from three different U.S. states. Our results reveal that it is distributors that are able both to leverage positional strategies in their local portfolios and free themselves from the lock-in associated with their historically beneficial social and market relationships with the large brewers who distribute craft.

Read the working paper on SSRN or SocArXiv

Survival among U.S. beer wholesalers

When Liability Becomes Potential

This paper focuses on an intermediary market segment and examines what happens to incumbents and entrants when there is a surge in the number of potential downstream partners. While focusing on two structural constraints, organizational structure and competitive pressure, I build off of the fact that in the past thirty years in the U.S. beer industry, as the number of beer producers (i.e. brewers) proliferated, their intermediaries (i.e. wholesalers) declined. I examine the effect of this evolutionary dynamic and the inter-organizational relationship-level mechanism it induces on the variation in survival chances of different forms of establishments in the wholesaling industry. I use restricted-access economic microdata from the Longitudinal Business Database (1983-2013). I find that multi-unit entrants have better survival chances than industry incumbents, an effect I term ‘the potential of newness’. Furthermore, I show that survival benefits especially accrue to these newcomers in areas with competition-laden history and where the industry experiences shakeouts. I explain this counterintuitive finding via a social mechanism: in dynamic market contexts, it is easier to create entirely new market ties than change old, socially embedded ones.

Read the working paper on IDEAS RePEc or SSRN.

Industry push

Change in the social logic of market relationships

Multiunit new entrant survival advantage, conditioned on the competitive landscape

Firm colocation

Product strategies: established, innovator, or


Product strategies: established, innovator, or


The spatial factor in craft brewer firm strategies

"The Beer We Brew": how the competitive landscape influences firms' product strategy 

with Paul-Brian McInerney


This paper looks at heterogeneity in colocation patterns for distinct classes of organizations within the same industry.  We find three distinct classes of craft breweries using latent class analysis: established, up-and-coming and innovator. Members of the innovator class tend to locate in dense markets near established organizations while up-and-coming firms use the strategies developed by the established class but in new geographic locales. We theorize that these patterns are a case of partitioning within the partition: innovators locate near established firms in order to serve consumers with sophisticated or adventurous palates who are not being serviced by the established craft brewers. 

Read the book chapter in Untapped edited volume