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 inequality and meaning-making as they relate to the lived experiences of workers within the context of 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 a unit 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. In this study, he observes gender inequality between female and male security screening officers at the TSA alongside 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. In an ongoing ethnographic case study of a consulting firm, he theorizes the micro-institutional processes of meaning-making in a firm undergoing isomorphic change.

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