Claudia Bird Schoonhoven

American organizational theorist and professor of organization and strategy

Claudia Bird Schoonhoven (born 1943) is an American organizational theorist, Professor of Organization and Strategy at Paul Merage School of Business, and the past Editor-in-Chief of Organization Science with research interests in the field of evolutionary dynamics of technology-based firms, innovation, and entrepreneurship.


  • Contingency Theory is not a theory at all, in the conventional sense of theory as a well-developed set of interrelated propositions. It is more an orienting strategy or metatheory, suggesting ways in which a phenomenon ought to be conceptualized or as approach to the phenomenon ought to be explained. Drawn primarily from large-scale empirical studies, contingency theory relies on a few assumptions that have been explicitly stated, and these guide contingency research.
    • Claudia Bird Schoonhoven. 1981. "Problems with contingency theory: Testing assumptions hidden within the language of contingency "theory". Administrative Science Quarterly, 26: p. 350
  • If you peruse the table of contents of a textbook on organizational theory or search the web for courses in organizational sociology, you cannot help but notice how many of the key contributors to the field spent time at Stanford between 1970 and 2000, as faculty members, post-docs, or graduate students... Of the five most influential macro-organizational paradigms in play today — institutional theory, network theory, organizational culture, population ecology, and resource dependence theory (in alphabetical order) – Stanford served as an important pillar, if not the entire foundation, for all but network theory. By the 1990s, it became an important site for network theory as well.
    • Frank Dobbin, Claudia Bird Schoonhoven (eds) Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970-2000, 2010. p. xvii