Work, Technology & Organization - About - why wto

Well, there are lots of reasons...
  • WTO offers the only doctoral program in organizational studies in the United States located in an engineering school.
  • WTO faculty have international reputations as leading researchers in the field of organization studies.
  • WTO doctoral students combine studies in engineering, management, sociology, and psychology to build a unique and balanced perspective on work, technology, and organizations.
  • WTO doctoral students have full access to Stanford's entire organization studies community which is one of the largest in the country.
  • WTO welcomes applications from students with either social science or technical degrees. The mixing of engineering and social science is the department's trademark.
  • WTO faculty work closely with a tightly knit cohort of WTO doctoral students.
If we are to successfully adapt to today’s new technical environment, we must understand how technologies affect day-to-day activities and perceptions. At the Center for Work, Technology & Organization you will learn to understand the important interactions among technology, work and organizing so that some day you can potentially affect the course of these changes directly.


Siobhan O'Mahony
Boston University
Graduated in 2002
Advisor: Steve Barley

I came to WTO because I knew that I wanted to do field research and I was interested in how technology was affecting people's lives - at work or at home. What I did not know was that I would be trained among the very best in the field. Since I have left and become a faculty member, I have developed a renewed appreciation for the type of training that WTO offers - there are very few institutions like it! Doing field work is hard - the rules that are written are inadequate to describe the process. Thus, you need to learn by doing and doing so with the best is just invaluable. I realize now that the degree of care and attention that the WTO faculty spends with graduate students is not the norm, but that it is essential to the training of a doctoral student. In addition, as a social scientist in an engineering school, you develop a behind the scenes appreciation for engineering culture and how technologies are developed, interpreted, and adapted. I learned far more than I realized and I miss that now.


Mark Mortensen
Graduated in 2004
Advisor: Pam Hinds

Choosing to get pursue my degree within the WTO was one of the best, and easiest decisions I've made. When I arrived at the WTO, trained as a Computer Scientist, I was completely unfamiliar with organizational theory or behavior. During my time in the WTO my interactions with the faculty and students were an ideal mix of intellectual rigor, curiosity, freedom and support. The WTO's intellectual vibrancy was matched only by the tireless mentoring of its world class faculty who helped me find my intellectual interests and voice. With access to Stanford's diversity of disciplines and scholars and immersed in the technology-hub of Silicon Valley, I couldn't have found a better intellectual environment for the study of Work, Technology and Organization.


Victor Seidel
University of Oxford
Graduated in 2005
Advisor: Bob Sutton

During my doctoral studies the Stanford Center for Work, Technology, and Organization provided an always engaging and truly collegial environment in which to learn the craft of scholarship in these important areas. Indeed, the Center set the standard for the type of academic community I hope to foster myself in the years ahead.


Paul Leonardi
Northwestern University
Advisors: Steve Barley and Diane Bailey

I came to WTO with a background in Communication Studies and was a bit apprehensive about joining a Ph.D. program in an engineering school. I quickly discovered that I actually had a lot to say to engineers and that they were quite interested in how social science research could provide insights that could help design better technologies and better organizations. Just like ethnographers, engineers are empiricists who want to understand how and why the world works. After nearly four years working in the WTO I am now confident in my ability to translate insights from social scientific research into implications for technology design, implementation and use. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the study of work in technical settings to consider all they can learn from studying at WTO.


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