Pilar Opazo is a Professor of the Practice in the “Management and Organizations” Department at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College.
Prior to Boston College, Pilar was a Post-Doctoral Associate and Lecturer in the “Work and Organization Studies” group at MIT Sloan School of Management and at the Columbia Graduate School of Business.
She did her PhD in Sociology at Columbia University. Her research explores how organizational contexts shape social behavior. Specifically, her research interests include organizational behavior, innovation and creativity, negotiation, qualitative methods, and sociological theory.
Her book “Appetite for Innovation: Change and Creativity at elBulli” (2016), 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.  http://cup.columbia.edu/book/appetite-for-innovation/9780231176781 Pilar’s doctoral thesis 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 and by Fulbright Chile.
Her other published works include the peer-reviewed articles, “Politics of Meaning in Categorizing Innovation” published in Organization Studies (2020, with Barbara Slavich, Silviya Svejenova and Gerardo Patriotta), “Order at the Edge or Chaos” published in Sociological Theory (2011, with Jorge Fontdevila and Harrison White) and “Discourse as a Driver of Innovation” published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science (2012). Also, two Spanish-language books, “Negotiation: Competing or Collaborating” (2020, Second Edition, with Cristian Saieh and Dario Rodriguez) and “Communications in Organizations” (2007, with Dario Rodriguez, Second Edition in progress).
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.




Academic Employment 

Professor of the Practice, Carroll School of Management, Boston College, Jul 2019 – present

Post-Doctoral Associate and Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management, Jul 2017 – Jun 2019

Post-Doctoral Research Scholar, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, Jan 2014 – Jun 2017

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, Jan 2015 – Jun 2017

Affiliate, Initiative for the Study and Practice of Organized Creativity and Culture (ISPOCC), Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, Jan 2014 –Jun 2017



 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



  • “A Cannon of One’s Own: A Comparative Analysis of the Cultural Production in Gastronomy and the Visual Arts“. 2020. Poetics. Vol 82. Sonia Coman and M. Pilar Opazo
  • “Politics of Meaning in Categorizing Innovation: How Chefs Advanced Molecular Gastronomy by Resisting the Label”. 2020. Barbara Slavich, Silviya Svejenova, M. Pilar Opazo and Gerardo Patriotta. Organisation Studies, Vol. 41(2) 267–290 (A preliminary version of this paper was published in the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings of 2016.)
  • “Rethinking Organizational Boundaries via Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of Organized Systems”. 2017. M. Pilar Opazo and Dario Rodriguez. Revista MAD. 36, 21-37.
  • 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. 
  •  “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,” 2011, 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).




  • “Appetite for Innovation: Change and Creativity at elBulli” (Columbia University Press, 2016)
  • *Reviewed in scholarly press: American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Work and  Occupations, International Sociology. 

 opazo_comp rev_sm2 copy

Communication 2007


Negociacion 2006

Book Reviews 


Encyclopedia Entries
  • Structural Coupling (forthcoming). In WCSA book of keywords of Systemic 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









Case Method Teaching Seminar, Harvard Business School, June 15-16, 2018

Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program (KTCP), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June, 2018 (Teaching certificate for graduate and undergraduate teaching)