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 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. In an ongoing ethnographic case study of a consulting firm, he theorizes micro-institutional processes of meaning-making in a firm undergoing isomorphic change.
Before joining the doctoral program in 2011, Curtis worked as an Analyst and then as an Associate at the boutique management consulting firm Innosight, which focuses on innovation in a variety of industries. Earlier on, he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 2008 with an A.B. in social anthropology and a secondary field in psychology, and he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society since his junior year. In college, he conducted ethnographic research on the cultural values of street dancers in New England and Miami, and the undergraduate thesis he wrote on this topic under the advising of Professor of Anthropology Michael Herzfeld was awarded a Thomas T. Hoopes Prize.