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Beth Bechky

Beth Bechky

Joined Stern 2013

Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Tisch Hall
40 West Fourth Street,
New York, NY 10012


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Beth Bechky is the Seymour Milstein Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance and Strategy at the Stern School of Business and a professor of sociology (by courtesy) at New York University. She teaches courses in managing high performing teams and in negotiations.

Beth’s recent book, Blood, Powder and Residue: How Crime Labs Translate Evidence into Proof, has just been published by Princeton University Press. In it, she shows how the work of forensic scientists is fraught with the tensions of serving justice—constantly having to anticipate the expectations of the world of law and the assumptions of the public—while also staying true to their scientific ideals.

As an organizational ethnographer, Beth’s research reveals the technical complexity of the modern workplace. She studies how workers collaborate to solve problems, struggle to coordinate, and manage the challenges of technological change. In addition to Beth’s in-depth engagement in a crime lab, in previous projects she locked up sets and made copies as a production assistant in the film industry, assembled semiconductor equipment in a clean room, and assisted technicians in a biotech lab. She has published her work in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science and American Journal of Sociology.

Professor Bechky is an associate editor at Administrative Science Quarterly, and was formerly a senior editor at Organization Science and the co-editor of Qualitative Organizational Research. She served on the council of the Organization, Occupations and Work division of the American Sociological Association from 2009-2012.

Beth’s interest in the workplace began as a research associate at Xerox PARC, followed by faculty appointments at the Wharton School, UC Davis and her current position at NYU. She earned a doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering and a masters degree in Sociology from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Research Interests

  • Technological change and the evolution of work
  • Sociology of work and occupations
  • Organizational theory

Courses Taught

  • Managing People & Teams
  • Organization Theory
  • Research Design and Development

Academic Background

B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations
Cornell University

M.A., Sociology
Stanford University

Ph.D., Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management
Stanford University

Selected Publications

Bechky, B.A. (2020)
Blood, Powder and Residue: How Crime Labs Translate Evidence into Proof.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Forthcoming, January 2021.

Bechky, B.A. (2020)
“Evaluative spillovers from technological change: The effects of ‘DNA envy’ on occupational practices in forensic science.”
Administrative Science Quarterly, 65: 606-643.

Leibel, E., T. Hallett, and B.A. Bechky (2018)
“Meaning at the source: The dynamics of field formation in institutional research”
Academy of Management Annals, 12: 154-177

Elsbach, K.D., and B.A. Bechky (2018)
“How observers assess women who cry in professional work contexts”
Academy of Management Discoveries, 4: 127–154

Bechky, B.A. and D. Chung (2018)
“Latitude or latent control? How occupational embeddedness and control shape emergent coordination”
Administrative Science Quarterly, 63: 607-636

Fayard, A.L., I. Stigliani, and B.A. Bechky (2017)
“How nascent occupations construct a mandate: The case of service designers’ ethos”
Administrative Science Quarterly, 62: 270303

Barley, S.R., B.A. Bechky and F. Milliken (2017)
“The changing nature of work: Careers, identities, and work lives in the 21st century”
Academy of Management Discoveries, 3(2): 111-115

Areas of Expertise


  • Consulting
  • Entertainment & Media
  • Technology


  • Communications
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Team Dynamics & Performance
  • Technology & Innovation