Doctoral Student

Curtis Kwinyen Chan

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Organizational Behavior program jointly offered by Harvard Business School and the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. I am an ethnographer and field researcher studying how people experience and interpret their work and cultural contexts, as well as how this shapes inequality and organizational outcomes like normative control. I specialize in utilizing in-depth, inductive field studies—including studies of screeners at the Transportation Security Administration and consultants at a strategy consultancy—to discover and theorize novel, hidden, and nuanced processes in these areas of inquiry. I was awarded the 2014 Best Student Paper Award from the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division of the Academy of Management (AOM). My scholarly research is published in Administrative Science Quarterly and the Academy of Management Annals, with written pieces also appearing in the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, Work and Occupations, and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 

Please see my personal website for my CV and other information.

Journal Articles

  1. Three Lenses on Occupations and Professions in Organizations: Becoming, Doing, and Relating

    Michel Anteby, Curtis K. Chan and Julia DiBenigno

    Management and organizational scholarship is overdue for a reappraisal of occupations and professions as well as a critical review of past and current work on the topic. Indeed, the field has largely failed to keep pace with the rising salience of occupational and professional—as opposed to organizational—dynamics in work life. Moreover, not only is there a dearth of studies that explicitly take occupational or professional categories into account, but there is also an absence of a shared analytical framework for understanding what occupations and professions entail. Our goal is therefore two-fold: first, to offer guidance to scholars less familiar with this terrain who encounter occupational or professional dynamics in their own inquiries and, second, to introduce a three-part framework for conceptualizing occupations and professions to help guide future inquiries. We suggest that occupations and professions can be understood through lenses of “becoming,” “doing,” and “relating.” We develop this framework as we review past literature and discuss the implications of each approach for future research and, more broadly, for the field of management and organizational theory.

    Keywords: Professions; professional identity; occupations; work; workplace; work culture; literature review; Organizational Culture; Personal Development and Career;


    Anteby, Michel, Curtis K. Chan, and Julia DiBenigno. "Three Lenses on Occupations and Professions in Organizations: Becoming, Doing, and Relating." Academy of Management Annals 10 (2016): 183–244. View Details
  2. Task Segregation as a Mechanism for Within-Job Inequality: Women and Men of the Transportation Security Administration

    Curtis K. Chan and Michel Anteby

    What could explain inequality within a given job between groups of workers, particularly between women and men? Extant workplace inequality scholarship has largely overlooked as a source for inequality the job’s work content—the actual tasks workers perform. It is possible, however, for a job to have considerably heterogeneous tasks and for particular tasks to be differentially allocated by worker group. We deem this possibility “task segregation”—when a group of workers is disproportionately allocated to spend more time doing particular tasks within a job. If these tasks are relatively undesirable, then the segregated group may have relatively poorer job quality. Drawing on interviews with airport security screeners, we analyze a case of task segregation and the processes through which it generated inequality in job quality. Relative to male screeners, female screeners were more often allocated the reportedly undesirable task of passenger pat-downs, disproportionately exposing them to processes of physical exertion, emotional labor, and relational strain. Task segregation also disproportionately exposed female screeners to processes of managerial sanction and skillset narrowing that further contributed to poor job quality for women. Overall, we build theory around how task segregation can act as a mechanism for generating within-job inequality in job quality.

    Keywords: inequality; work; mechanisms and processes; gender; stratification; labor process; qualitative methods (general); case method; field research; Equality and Inequality; Working Conditions; Gender; Labor; Labor and Management Relations; Air Transportation Industry;


    Chan, Curtis K., and Michel Anteby. "Task Segregation as a Mechanism for Within-Job Inequality: Women and Men of the Transportation Security Administration." Administrative Science Quarterly 61, no. 2 (June 2016): 184–216. View Details