Walter W. Powell, Ph.D.

Stanford University
Professor of Education

Affiliated Professor of Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Communications Walter W. (Woody) Powell is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science, and Communication at Stanford University. Professor Powell is also an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1999, after previously teaching at the University of Arizona, MIT, and Yale. Professor Powell works in the areas of organization theory, economic sociology, the sociology of culture, and science and technology studies. He has written dozens of papers on inter-organizational collaboration and the growing salience of networks and alliances to the innovation process. In the area of nonprofit studies, he edited The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (Yale Univ. Press, 1987), referred to by reviewers as “the bible of nonprofit scholarship.” The new edition of the handbook was recently published by Yale Press. Professor Powell is also co-editor of Private Action and the Public Good (1998), and is an associate editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Professor Powell is currently engaged in two large-scale research projects. In the first, he is studying the circulation and translation of managerial ideas in the Bay Area nonprofit sector, examining how the influence of consulting firms, new forms of high-engagement philanthropy, and business initiatives are influencing the nonprofit world. In the second, Professor Powell and his students are studying the origins and development of the field of the life sciences. They focus on the role of universities in transferring public science into commercial development by science-based companies, the consequences for universities of their growing involvement in alliances with for-profit enterprises, and the evolution of complex patterns of collaboration among companies, public research organizations, and financiers.

Faculty for Creative Alliances, 2004 – 2012
Founding faculty for Extending Your Reach, 2013