Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Organizations and Their Effectiveness

Main content start

CASBS played a major role in the early decades of the study of organizations.

Some of the foundational work in the field was conducted at the Center – by economists, political scientists, social psychologists, and sociologists: Kenneth Arrow, Ronald Coase, Robert Dahl, Charles Lindblom, James March, Robert Merton, Roy Radner, Philip Selznick, Herbert Simon, Oliver Williamson, and Harold Wilensky.

In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, CASBS returned to the tradition with a two-week Summer Institute for social and behavioral scientists on “Organizations and Their Effectiveness.” An important aspect of the institute is that it is highly interdisciplinary; it brings together a cohort of promising young researchers from a wide range of fields, including communication, economics, education, management, political science, social psychology, and sociology.

The Summer Institute continues in 2023. An important CASBS goal is not only to shape but also to integrate contributions from different disciplines approaching individual questions in a collaborative manner. Accordingly, one aim of the institute is to bring participants out of fragmented disciplinary silos and away from traditional departmental and institutional constraints, and instead promote a depth and breadth of thinking. An even larger purpose is to revitalize the field of organizations over a period of years by cultivating a new cadre of cross-disciplinary, problem-solving scholars who attain fluency in a wide set of theories and methods. The institute seeks to harness the “gains from trade” from studying various types of organizations – firms, legislatures, hospitals, courts, churches, schools, and social movements – and spread learning from instances of “bright spots” and successful performance within and among them.

The institute is co-directed by Robert Gibbons (MIT; CASBS fellow 1994-95, 2014-15) and Woody Powell (Stanford; CASBS Director; 1986-87, 2008-09). 

Accepting Applications for the Summer of 2023

The fifth CASBS summer institute on Organizations and Their Effectiveness will occur from July 16 through July 29, 2023, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences on the Stanford University campus. Fifteen fellowships will be awarded to cover tuition, room and board, and travel.

For more information, see the application announcement here.

The application portal can be accessed at

For more information, please contact CASBS program director Zachary Ugolnik (