profile crop 2Pilar Opazo is a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Business School. She did her PhD in Sociology at Columbia University. Her research interests include Organizational and Economic Sociology, Innovation Studies, Qualitative Methods, Negotiation, and Science and Technology Studies.
Her book “Appetite for Innovation: Change and Creativity at elBulli,” recently published with Columbia University Press, uses ethnographic techniques to examine the nature of radical and systematic innovation. Her investigation considers the case of elBulli, the avant-garde restaurant directed by Chef Ferran Adria that has pioneered the “molecular” or “experimental” cuisine movement in the gastronomy industry. Pilar’s doctoral dissertation received the “Robert K. Merton Award” for Best Dissertation in 2014, awarded by the Sociology Department at Columbia University. Her research has been supported by a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant awarded by Telefonica Digital, Barcelona, major telecommunication company in Spain.
Her published works include the co-authored books, Communications of Organizations (2007) and Negotiation (2006). Also, two peer-reviewed articles in Sociological Theory entitled ‘Order at the Edge of Chaos’ and International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science entitled ‘Discourse as a Driver of Innovation: the case of elBulli restaurant’ (2013).
During 2008 and 2009, under the frame of the Center on Organizational Innovation (COI), Pilar conducted ethnographic and network-analytic research at “Citilab” a center of social innovation located in Barcelona. Before coming to Columbia University, Pilar coordinated the Research Center of “Infocap,” a foundation that provides labor training to unskilled workers in Chile.




PhD Sociology (May, 2014)

Department of Sociology, Columbia University

M.A. Sociology (May, 2010)
Department of Sociology, Columbia University

B.A. Sociology  and Minor Philosophy
Catholic University of Chile, Magna Cum Laude

Publications & Working Papers




  •  “Order at the Edge of Chaos: Meanings from Switchings across Functional Systems.” 2011.  Jorge Fontdevila, M. Pilar Opazo and Harrison C. White, Sociological Theory, 29 (3): 178-198. 
    Chapter in Book (translation) “Znaczenia z Prezeskokow: Wstep do Wydania Polskieg,” 2001, Article “Order at the Edge of Chaos” in Polish translation of Harrison C. White “Identity and Control” 2nd edition, by Elzbieta Halas. Wsoikczesne Teorie Socjologiczne, (Pp. LI).
  • Discourse as a Driver of Innovation in Haute Cuisine: The Case of elBulli Restaurant. 2012. ” M. Pilar Opazo.International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 1 (2): 82-89. 




  • “Appetite for Innovation: Change and Creativity at elBulli” (forthcoming in Columbia University Press, July 2016)

opazo_comp rev_sm2 copy

Negociacion 2006

Encyclopedia Entries
  • Structural Coupling (forthcoming). In WCSA book of keywords of Systemtic visions. M. Pilar Opazo.
  • Coupling (Loose vs Tight). 2013. In Penuel, K.B., Statler, M. and R. Hagen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Crisis Management, SAGE Publishing. Pp. 183-184. M. Pilar Opazo and Dario Rodriguez.
Working Papers


Fellowships & Awards







Teaching evaluations: 4.9/5