Elizabeth Pontikes studies organizational knowledge and innovation, technological change, and market categorization. She is the former Director of Solution Engineering at Coremetrics, Inc., in California, where she developed sales strategies and competitive positioning. She has both taught and designed courses at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
"As Director of Solution Engineering for Coremetrics, I focused on positioning our start-up company within the emerging market of web analytics. My experience was not unique; managers in every organization face the important problem of defining their organization with respect to the structure of the market and their competitors. How potential costumers categorize organizations affects their success and performance. By doing so, managers can carve out a new category of goods or services that can be a strategic benefit for the company."
Her work has appeared in The American Sociological Review, Management Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Research and Organizational Behavior. She has presented at the annual meetings of Organizational Ecologists, the Harvard Business School Strategic Management conference, and Academy of Management and American Sociological Association annual conferences.
In 2008, Pontikes received the Louis R. Pondy Award from the Academy of Management's Organization and Management Theory division for the best paper based on a dissertation. She also has received fellowships from the Stanford GSB.
Pontikes earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude in physics with distinction from Yale University in 1998, where she was the Saybrook College banner bearer and received the DeForest Pioneers Prize for achievement in physics. In 2008, she graduated with a PhD in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her dissertation was entitled, "Fitting in or Starting New? An Analysis of Technological Innovation, Category Constraint, and the Emergence of New Categories in the Software Industry." Pontikes joined Chicago Booth in 2008.
Pontikes is a long-distance runner and completed the Nike Women's Marathon in 2005. She also does yoga and enjoys reading historical nonfiction, especially about the American Revolutionary period.
2013 - 2014 Course Schedule
||Strategy and Structure: Markets and Organizations
||Workshop in Organizations and Markets
Running, yoga, reading historical nonfiction.
Organizational knowledge and innovation, technological change, categorization and category emergence, stigma and negative categories.
"Two Sides of the Same Coin: How Ambiguous Classification Affects Multiple Audiences' Evaluations," Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(1) 81-118 (2012).
With Giacomo Negro and Hayagreeva Rao, “Stained Red: A Study of Stigma by Association to Blacklisted Artists During the "Red Scare" in Hollywood, 1945 to 1960,” American Sociological Review (2010).
With Barnett, W.P., "The Red Queen, Success Bias, and Organizational Inertia," Management Science vol 54, 1237 – 1251 (2009).
With Barnett, W. P., "The Red Queen: History-Dependent Competition Among Organizations," Research in Organizational Behavior Staw, B.& Kramer, R.M. (ed.), Jai Press (2005).
For a listing of research publications please visit
’s university library listing