Research Summary


by Curtis Kwinyen Chan


Curtis K. Chan is a Ph.D. student in the Organizational Behavior program jointly offered by Harvard Business School and the Department of Sociology at Harvard. Curtis’s research interests include the social and cultural processes of meaning-making, job quality, and inequality as they relate to the lived experiences of workers in organizations and occupational groups. Currently, Curtis has research in two streams of work. His first stream considers processes of inequality. In an inductive, qualitative case study of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), he theorizes a mechanism called task segregation, where a subgroup of workers is disproportionately allocated to spend more time doing particular tasks within a job. The basis of this theorization is the observation of gender inequality between female and male security screening officers at the TSA, and the disproportionate allocation of female screeners to the task of conducting passenger pat-downs. His second stream of research considers cultural processes of meaning-making. He is conducting an ongoing inductive case study of a consulting firm, examining what makes certain kinds of work meaningful and what role interpretation of organizational communications plays in this meaning-making.

Keywords: qualitative research; ethnography; corporate culture; organizational behavior; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Theory; Working Conditions; Consulting Industry;