The W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship is granted for an outstanding contribution to the discipline in an article on organizations, occupations and work published within the last three years. The committee will accept nominations for papers published any time from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2011. Authors may nominate themselves, or section members may do so. To nominate a paper, send (1) a PDF file of the paper or a functioning URL where it can be accessed, (2) a letter (PDF, Word) justifying the nomination, and (3) contact information for the nominee (including email) to each member of the selection committee.
Members of the 2011 Scott Award Committee are:

Jeremy Reynolds, Committee Chair
Department of Sociology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Marc Ventresca
Said Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street
Oxford OX1 1HP U.K.


Carrie L. Alexandrowicz Shandra
Department of Sociology
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11550




2010 Scott Award Winner

Alexandra Kalev. 2009. “Cracking the Glass Cages? Restructuring and Ascriptive Inequality at Work” American Journal of Sociology 114(6): 1591-1643.

The 2009 W. Richard Scott Award for Best Paper was awarded to Alexandra Kalev . We considered a large group of excellent submissions, but this paper was notable for its theoretical punch, innovative data and methods, and clarity of exposition and interpretation. Kalev outlines and tests often taken-for-granted assumptions about the inequality-eroding effects of bureaucratic formalization, as well as bringing relational elements into her argument and empirical tests. She does this by assembling an impressive array of data sources, including annual reports on more than 800 establishments’ workforce compositions from 1980 to 2002, an original survey of these same establishments’ work and personnel structures conducted in collaboration with Dr. Frank Dobbin, and reports submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her results show that organizational changes that are less bureaucratically formalized but serve to integrate workers at the relational level – such as self-directed teams and cross-training – reduce inequality on the basis of gender and race. Kalev’s findings have broad implications for academic and policy concerns about persisting inequality in the workplace.

Committee: Sarah Burgard (Chair), David J. Maume, Wei-Hsin Yu, and David Stark (2009 winner)


The 2009 W. Richard Scott Award for Best Paper was awarded to David Stark and Balazs Vedres, “Social Times of Network Spaces: Network Sequences and Foreign Investment in Hungary.” American Journal of Sociology 111, 5 (March 2006): 1367-1411.  With a high number of excellent submissions, the winning paper stood out for its creative and original analysis of evolving organizational networks in a changing historical context.  Stark and Vedres develop a highly innovative social sequence analysis to chart the changing network positions of 1,696 firms during a period (1987-2001) of rapidly increasing foreign ownership in Hungary.  Their findings indicate the important and potentially positive role of foreign ownership in rapidly developing economies, with broad implications for our understanding of globalization and social change.

Selection Committee: Louise Marie Roth (Chair), Brian Uzzi, Jeylan Mortimer



The 2008 W. Richard Scott Award for Best Paper was awarded to Brian Uzzi and Jarrett Spiro, “Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem,”American Journal of Sociology, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 447-504, Sept 2005. With a number of first-rate pieces nominated this year, the awards committee quickly reached consensus about the top paper.  The winning paper examines how small, local and proximate networks among creative individuals – that is, small world networks -- shape the creativity and success of new artistic projects.  In particular, the authors focus on the teams of creative artists who made Broadway musicals from 1945 to 1989.  The authors show how the small world distribution of talent among these artists affected the financial and artistic performance of new musicals in a U-shaped pattern.  They find that as the small world characteristics of a network increase, success rises up to a threshold, then begins to decline. 

The committee unanimously praised the paper for its quality execution in every aspect.  The authors develop new methods to test their hypotheses and make the small world phenomenon “do something.”  These methods are impressive for their innovativeness, their sophistication and their multilevel framework.  The use of theory is supple yet rigorous, with an exceptional fit with the research methods.  The paper provides a rich set of theoretical and empirical applications for research in the field of organizations.  It also promises to become a central work in the training of graduate students as well as in organizational research.

Selection Committee: Irene Brown (Chair), David Obstfeld, Pamela Popielarz


Winner of the 2007 W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship was David Obstfeld for his article, “Social Networks, The Tertius Iungens Orientation, and Involvement In Innovation”, Administrative Science Quarterly, volume 50, no. 1, pp. 100-130, Mar 2005.

The article is an outstanding paper that employs quantitative and ethnographic analysis to link the process of innovation with a behavioral orientation toward connecting people within one’s social network. In developing his analysis, Obstfeld builds on previous work, particularly in the structural tradition of Granovetter and Burt, which has shown that being a connector or “broker” between unconnected actors can boost one’s innovative potential. In examining the behavior and social networks associated with innovation within the firm, Obstfeld examines new territory in two respects: First the paper identifies, and measures, a tertius iungens orientation and found that this dynamic connecting orientation influenced innovation independent of network structure. Second, brokers that initiate new forms of coordination between already connected pairs, that is, in dense (not sparse) networks were more involved in innovation. Seen in this new way, brokerage involves both bridging the disconnected – Burt and Granovetter's contributions – and connecting those already connected. The paper suggests that brokerage be considered as involving both connecting the unconnected, but also the many important ways that reconnecting those who already have ties to one another - whether weak or strong, social or professional, etc. -- constitutes brokerage as well. Social networks provide an opportunity structure for brokerage, but do not define it.

Selection Committee: Brian Uzzi, Matt Huffman, Kate Stovel

Winners of the 2006 W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship were Brian Uzzi and Ryon Lancaster for "Embeddedness and Price Formation in the Large Law Firm Market." American Sociological Review, 69: 319-344.

The 2004 Scott Award was given to Kim A. Weeden for her paper entitled, "Why do Some Occupations Pay More than Others? Social Closure and Earnings Inequality in the United States." American Journal of Sociology 108(1):55-101 (2002).

The 2003 Scott Award was presented to Isin Guler, Mauro Guillen, and John MacPherson for their 2002 paper, "Global competition, institutions and the diffusion of organizational practices: The international spread of the ISO 9000 quality certificates," published in Administrative Science Quarterly.

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Last updated 16 April, 2011