Pamela Tolbert

people / faculty

Pamela Tolbert

Director of Graduate Studies
Lois S. Gray Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Social Sciences
and Professor of Organizational Behavior
Organizational Behavior


Professor Tolbert is the Lois S. Gray Professor of ILR and Social Sciences, and professor of the Department of Organizational Behavior. She came to the ILR School after receiving her Ph.D in sociology from UCLA. She is broadly interested in processes of organizational change, culture and entrepreneurship, and organizational practices and social inequality.

Research Statement

Her current research includes work on cross-cultural differences in entrepreneurial attitudes, growth strategies of art museums, and the impact of relative spousal earnings on career and family satisfaction. She has served on the editorial boards of a variety of organization and sociological journals, as the book review editor for Administrative Science Quarterly, and as a senior editor for Management Science; Academy of Management Review, Organization Science and Administrative Science Quarterly. She has also been a guest editor for a special issue of Organization Studies on careers, and an issue of the ILR Review on diversity management practices.


Journal Articles

  • Ronit Waismel-Manor, Asaf Levanon, Pamela Tolbert. . Impact of family ecnomic structure on dual-earners' career and family satisfaction, . 75(7):349-362.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Emilio Castilla. . Introduction: What Works? Reducing Bias/Increasing Inclusion, . 69(4).
  • Mallika Banerjee, Pamela Tolbert, Thomas Diciccio. 2012. Friend or foe? The effects of contingent workers on standard workers' job sttitudes, . 11:2180-2204.
  • Michelle M Duguid, Denise L Loyd, Pamela Tolbert. 2012. The Impact of Categorical Status, Numeric Representation and Work Group Prestige on Preference for Demographically Similar Others: A Value Threat Approach. , . 23:386-401.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Robert David, Wesley D Sine. 2011. Institutional theory and entrepreneurship research: Studying choice and change, . 22(5):1332-1344.
  • Hugh P. Gunz, Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Pamela Tolbert. 2011. Career as a social and political phenomenon in the globalized economy., . 32:613-620.
  • Sangchan Park, Wesley D Sine, Pamela Tolbert. 2011. Institutions in action: Tenure systems and faculty employment in colleges and universities, . 38(3):340-371.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Shon R Hiatt. 2010. The shape of things to come: Institutions, entrepreneurs and the case of hedge funds, . 21:157-182.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Shon Hiatt. 2009. On organizations and oligarchies: Michels in the 21st century, .
  • P Monique Valcour, Pamela Tolbert. 2003. Gender, family and career in the era of boundarylessness: Determinants and effects of intra- and interorganizational mobility, . 14(5):768-787.
  • Sheila Danko, Supaporn Vithayathawornwong, Pamela Tolbert. 2003. The role of the physical environment in supporting organizational creativity, . 29:18-35.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Phyllis E Moen. 1998. Men's and women's definitions of "good" jobs: Similarities and differences by age and across time, . 25:147-162.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1998. Two-tiered faculty systems and organizational outcomes, . 104:71-80.
  • Stephen R Barley, Pamela Tolbert. 1997. Institutionalization and structuration: Studying the links between action and institution, . 18:93-118.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Tal Simons, Alice Andrews, Jaehoon Rhee. 1995. Effects of gender composition on faculty turnover, . 48:562-579.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Alice A Oberfield. 1991. Sources of organizational demography: Faculty sex ratios in colleges and universities, . 64(4):305-317.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Alice A Oberfield. 1989. Physicians' work, . 26:8-13.
  • Sara Rynes, Pamela Strausser, Pamela Tolbert. 1988. Aspirations to manage: A comparison of engineering students and working engineers, . 32(2):239-253.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1986. Organizations and inequality: Sources of earnings differences between male and female faculty, . 59:227-245.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1985. Institutional environments and resource dependence: Sources of administrative structure in institutions of higher education, . 30:1-13.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Lynne G Zucker. 1983. Institutional sources of change in the formal structure of organizations: The diffusion of civil service reform, 1880-1930, . 28:22-39.


  • Pamela Tolbert, Richard Hall. 2009. Organizations: Structure, Processes and Outcomes. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1993. Research in the Sociology of Organizations: Collective Bargaining (co-editor). Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1993. Pamela S Tolbert, Peter Bamberger, David Torres.
  • Samuel Bacharach, Pamela Tolbert. 1992. Research in the Sociology of Organizations: Organizational Demography and Current Research Issues. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1992.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1991. Research in the Sociology of Organizations (co-editor). Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1991. Pamela S Tolbert, Richard Majuka, David Torres.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Stephen R Barley. 1990. Research in the Sociology of Organizations: Professions and Organizations. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1990.

Book Chapters

  • Pamela Tolbert, Ryan S Coles. 2016. Studying entrepreneurship as an institution. in Knowledge and Institutions. Heidelberg : Springer-Verlag, 2016. Johannes Gluecker and Roy Suddaby. (42)(Accepted)
  • Pamela Tolbert, Lynne G Zucker. 2013. Neo-institutional theory. in Encyclopedia of Management Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2013. Kessler, Eric. (5)(Accepted)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 2013. Robert Michels and the Iron Law of Oligarchy. in Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Snow, David et al.. (Accepted)
  • Pamela Tolbert, Shon R. Hiatt. 2010. The shape of things to come: Institutions, entrepreneurs and the case of hedge funds. in Research in the Sociology of Work. Westfield, CT: JAI Press, 2010. (157-182)
  • Pamela Tolbert, Shon R Hiatt. 2009. On organizations and oligarchies: Michels in the 21st century. in Sociological Classics and Organizational Research. London: Oxford University Press, 2009. Paul Adler. (174-199)
  • C Robert Hinings, Pamela Tolbert. 2008. Organizational institutionalism and sociology: A reflection. in Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. New York, NY: Sage, 2008. R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin-Andersson, R. Suddaby. (473-491)
  • Barbara Lawrence, Pamela Tolbert. 2007. Structure, norms and outcomes: Organizational demography and individual careers. in Handbook of Career Studies. New York NY: Sage Publications, 2007. H Gunz, M Peiperl. (399-421)
  • Janet Marler, Pamela Tolbert. 2003. Alternative employment arrangements: Are they a successful strategy for working couples?. in It's About Time: Work and Family Relations in Dual Career Couples. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. P Moen, S Sweet.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Mary Graham, Alice Andrews. 1999. Causes and consequences of variations in groups' gender composition. in Handbook of Gender Studies. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 1999. G Powell. (179-202)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1996. Occupations, organizations and boundaryless careers. in Boundaryless Careers. New York NY: Oxford University Press, 1996. M Arthur, D Rousseau. (91-107)
  • Pamela Tolbert, Lynne G Zucker. 1996. The institutionalization of institutional theory. in Handbook of Organization Studies. London: Sage Publications, 1996. S Clegg, C Hardy, W Nord. (175-190)
  • Pamela Tolbert, Alice Andrews, Tal Simons. 1995. Effects of group proportions on intergroup relations. in Work Team Diversity: Perspectives and Paradigms. Washington, DC: APA Press, 1995. S Jackson, M Ruderman.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1992. Comment on "War and Peace". in Doing Exemplary Organizational Research. Beverly Hills CA: Sage Publications, 1992. P Frost, R Stablein.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1992. Future status of women in white collar and professional occupations. in Breaking the Barriers: White Collar Women on the Move. Washington, DC: Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, 1992. P Wilson. (1-7)
  • Stephen R Barley, Pamela Tolbert. 1991. At the intersection of organizations and occupations. in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1991. Pamela S Tolbert, Stephen R Barley.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Robert N Stern. 1991. Governance structures in large law firms. in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1991. Pamela S Tolbert, Stephen R Barley.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Robert N Stern. 1990. Inequality in a company of equals: Participation in large law firms. in International Handbook of Participation in Organizations. London: Oxford University Press, 1990. Raymond Russell, Veljko Rus.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1990. Negotiations in organizations: A sociological perspective. in Research on Negotiations in Organizations. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1990. M Bazerman, B Sheppard, R Lewicki.
  • Pamela Tolbert, Jeffrey Arthur. 1988. Institutionalization and negotiations in organizations. in Research on Negotiations in Organizations. Greenwich CT: JAI Press, 1988. M Bazerman, B Sheppard, R Lewicki.
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1988. Institutionalization and organizational culture in major law firms. in Institutional Patterns and Organizations: Culture and Environment. Boston MA: Ballinger Press, 1988. L Zucker.

Book Reviews

  • Pamela Tolbert. 1990. Review of 'The Systems of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor' by Andrew Abbott. in Administrative Science Quarterly. 1990. (410-413)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1990. Review of 'Partners with Power: The Social Transformation of the Large Firm' by Robert Nelson. in American Journal of Sociology. 1990. (1081-1083)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1987. Review of 'Strategy and Organization' by Glenn Carroll and David Vogel. in Administrative Science Quarterly. 1987. (632-635)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1985. Review of 'Critical Studies in Organization and Bureaucracy' by Frank Fischer and Carmen Sirianni. in Contemporary Sociology. 1985. (379-380)
  • Pamela Tolbert. 1984. Review of 'Politics of Shopfloor Technology' by Barry Wilkinson. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1984.

Selected Works

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Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Academy of Management.
  • Fellow, Judge School of Business, Cambridge University.
  • Lois S. Gray Chaired Professor of Industrial Relations and Social Sciences, Cornell University.
  • Robert N. Stern Graduate Student Mentoring Award, ILR/Cornell. 2008
  • Outstanding Professor, Cornell National Panhellenic Council. 1990
  • Best Published Paper, American Sociological Association. 1987