Olav Sorenson is currently the Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management, and Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), at Yale University, where he teaches an elective on venture capital and components of the core on organization design. His primary stream of research pertains to economic geography, focusing on how entrepreneurship influences the growth and competitiveness of regions within countries. In particular, he has called attention to some of the unexpected consequences of the fact that social capital plays an important role in entrepreneurial success. Olav’s most recent projects within this stream have been examining whether the availability of venture capital influences regional entrepreneurship and economic growth, and the extent to which the benefits of venture capital depend on other factors, such as the easy movement of individuals across employers.
Olav’s secondary streams of research have been on the relationships between basic science and innovation and on how organizations can better learn from their interactions with customers and from their manufacturing experience. In total, he has delivered more than 200 research presentations and has had more than 60 papers published on these subjects, in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, the Strategic Management Journal, and Research Policy.
Olav serves as a Senior Editor at Organization Science and as the Editor of the SSRN Journal on Entrepreneurship and the Social Sciences. He also holds or has held editorial positions at ten other journals.
Prior to coming to Yale, Olav Sorenson held the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair in Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto (2006-2010), where he taught courses on both venture capital and the commercialization of technology. He has also held a professorship in Strategic and International Management at London Business School (2005-2007), associate and assistant professorships of Policy at UCLA (1999-2005), and an assistant professorship in Strategy at the University of Chicago (1997-1999). Olav has also had shorter-term visiting appointments at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, SDA Bocconi, Universidad Carlos III, Melbourne Business School and Singapore Management University. He grew up in South Dakota and received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University.