My research investigates the social dimensions of science and technology. Specifically, I study the emergence and evolution of technology-based fields; knowledge-sharing and collaboration among technical workers; and university technology-transfer and academic entrepreneurship. In recent years, I've grown particularly interested in the relationships between occupations and technological change.

My work leverages both qualitative and quantitative data, and almost always investigates processes over time. Qualitatively, I am trained as both an ethnographer and a historian, and I spend significant time in various archives and "in the field" engaged in interviews and observations of practitioners. Quantitatively, I employ large databases of patents, publications, technology licenses, employment trajectories, and other measures, which I use to construct networks and comparisons between individuals, organizations and technologies.

My prior studies have investigated a wide range of industries, including information technology, biotechnology, green (sustainable) chemistry, clean energy, and music technology. I am always interested in working with new PhD students and co-authors who share an interest in longitudinal qualitative or mixed-methods studies of science, technology and innovation.

    - Google Scholar Page
    - SSRN page
    - The Sound of Innovation webpage and data on the computer music industry
    - My TEDx talk on interdisciplinary innovation

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Emergence and Evolution of Technology-Based Fields

"Back to the Future: Technology Reemergence through the Lens of Music Synthesizers" Working paper. Joint with Mary Tripsas and Callen Anthony. Revise & Resubmit from Administrative Science Quarterly

Paper available on request

"Institutional Logics and Technology Development: Evidence from the Wind and Solar Energy Industries" 2020. Joint with Suzanne Tilleman and Mike Russo. Organization Science 31(3): 649-670.

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"'If Chemists Don't Do It, Who's Going To?': Peer-Driven Occupational Change and the Emergence of Green Chemistry" 2017. Joint with Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Andrew Earle, Julie Haack, and Doug Young. Administrative Science Quarterly 62(3): 524-560.

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"'Who Are You?...I Really Wanna Know': Product Identity and Competitive Positioning in the Nascent Synthesizer Industry" 2016. Joint with Callen Anthony and Mary Tripsas. Strategy Science 1(3): 163-183.

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The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution 2015. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Book website

"'Defining What We Do -- All Over Again': Occupational Identity, Technological Change, and the Librarian-Internet Search Relationship" 2014. Joint with Jennifer Irwin. Academy of Management Journal 57(3): 892-928.

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"'A Towering Virtue of Necessity': Interdisciplinarity and Computer Music at Vietnam-Era Stanford" 2013. Joint with Cyrus Mody. Osiris 28: 254-277.

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Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

"Dungeons and Dragons (and Programmers, too!): Gamification Among High-Tech Workers" Joint with Tongyu Wu.

Paper available on request

"Network Attributes and Innovation Activities: Untangling Relationships through the Lens of Green Chemistry" Joint with Andrew Earle. 2nd Revise & Resubmit from Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

Paper available on request

"When the General Meets the Particular: The Practices and Challenges of Interorganizational Knowledge Reuse" 2018. Joint with Isaac Waisberg. Organization Science 29(3): 432-448.

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"How to Share 'A Really Good Secret': Managing Sharing/Secrecy Tensions Around Scientific Knowledge Disclosure" 2016. Organization Science 27(2): 265-285.

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"Managing Collaborations at the University-Industry Interface: An Exploration of the Diffusion of PCR and rDNA" 2016. Qualitative Organizational Research: Best Papers from the Davis Conference on Qualitative Research, Volume 3 (Beth Bechky and Kim Elsbach, eds.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp. 53-90.

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"Help-Seeking and Help-Giving as an Organizational Routine: Continual Engagement in Innovative Work" 2015. Joint with Stine Grodal and Rosanne Siino. Academy of Management Journal 58(1): 136-168.

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Innovation Measurement and University Technology Transfer

"Dissecting Diffusion: Tracing the Plurality of Factors that Shape Knowledge Diffusion" Joint with Paige Clayton and Lauren Lanahan. Forthcoming at Research Policy.

Paper available on request

"Conceptualizing Academic Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: A Review, Analysis and Extension of the Literature" 2018. Joint with Chris Hayter, Stephanie Zayed, and Alan O'Connor The Journal of Technology Transfer 43(4): 1039-1082.

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"From the Ivory Tower to the Startup Garage: How Organizational Context Shapes Commercialization Processes" 2014. Research Policy 43(7): 1144-1156.

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"Do Innovation Measures Actually Measure Innovation? Obliteration, Symbolic Adoption and Other Finicky Challenges in Measuring Innovation Diffusion" 2014. Joint with Andrew Earle, Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Julie Haack, and Doug Young Research Policy 43(6): 927-940.

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"Putting University Research in Context: Assessing Alternative Measures of Production and Diffusion at Stanford" 2012. Research Policy 41(4): 678-691.

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"Measuring Knowledge Spillovers: What Patents, Licenses and Publications Reveal about Innovation Diffusion" 2009. Research Policy 38(6): 994-1005.

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"Cacophony or Harmony: Multivocal Logics and Technology Licensing by the Stanford University Department of Music" 2005. Industrial and Corporate Change 14(1): 93-118.

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Entrepreneurship Education and Entrepreneurial Discourse

"Freedom Is Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose: Entrepreneurialism and the Changing Nature of Employment Relations" 2021. Joint with Bob Eberhart and Steve Barley. Forthcoming in Research in the Sociology of Organizations

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Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise, 5th edition 2018. Joint with Tom Byers and Dick Dorf. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Book website

"Challenges in University Technology Transfer and the Promising Role of Entrepreneurship Education" 2015. Joint with Tom Byers. The Chicago Handbook of University Technology Transfer and Academic Entrepreneurship (Albert Link, Donald S. Siegel, and Mike Wright, eds.) Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 138-167.

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"Teaching Technology Commercialization: Introduction to the Special Issueā€¯ 2014. Joint with Erik Monsen. Journal of Technology Transfer 39(5): 774-779. .

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"Organizational Modularity and Intra-University Relationships between Entrepreneurship Education and Technology Transfer" 2005. Joint with Tom Byers. University Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer: Process, Design, and Intellectual Property (Gary Libecap, ed.) Stamford, CT: Elsevier Science/JAI Press, pp. 275-311.

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Contact: Prof. Andrew Nelson
Lundquist College of Business
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
T: 541.346.1569
E: ajnelson (at) uoregon.edu