Pilar Opazo is a Post-Doctoral Associate and Lecturer in the “Work and Organization Studies” group at MIT Sloan. She did her PhD in Sociology at Columbia University. Her research explores how organizational contexts shape social behavior. Specifically, 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” (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.
Her other published works include two peer-reviewed articles, “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” (2006, with Cristian Saieh and Dario Rodriguez) and “Communications in Organizations” (2007, with Dario Rodriguez).
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)
- “Communications of Organizations”. 2007. Santiago: Catholic University of Chile Press. Pages 661. Darío Rodríguez and M. Pilar Opazo
- “Negotiation: Competing or Collaborating?”. 2006. Santiago: El Mercurio/Aguilar Press. Pages 318. Cristián Saieh, Darío Rodríguez and M. Pilar Opazo
- 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.
- “Labeling and the Politics of Meaning in Category Formation”. Barbara Slavich, Sylvia Svejenova, M.Pilar Opazo and Gerardo Patriotta (currently under review, Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings 2016).
- “Multimodal Innovation: Creating New Experiences in the Context of Haute Cuisine”, with Micki Eisenman, Michal Frenkel and Varda Wasserman.
- “Playing the Field: Creativity in the Making of a New Movement in Haute Cuisine”, with Priscilla Ferguson.
- “Rethinking Organizational Boundaries via Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of Organized Systems,” with Dario Rodriguez (currently under review).
- “Revitalizing the Concept of Sociotechnical Systems in Science and Technology Studies.”
- “Merton Award” for Best Dissertation in 2014, awarded by the Sociology Department of Columbia University.
- Grant awarded by Telefonica Digigal for dissertation research via Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, 2011-2013.
- Mellon Fellowship at the Interdisciplinary Center of Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE), Columbia University, 2012 – 2013.
- Fulbright Scholarship for Ph. D studies, 2008 –2012.
- Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow, Columbia University, 2008 – 2013.
- Cornerhouse Award, Columbia University, Fall 2010, Fall 2011.
- Scholarship for assisting to Summer School “Complex Systems”, Santa Fe Institute, June 2010.
- Scholarship for assisting to Summer School “Networks and Innovation”, Trento University, July 2009.
Teaching evaluations: 4.9/5
- “Managerial Negotiations,” Columbia Business School, MSE Fall 2015 and Spring 2016.
- Co-Instructor “Innovation and Entrepreneurship: New Product Development,” with Prof. Michelle Greenwald. 2014. Columbia Univesrity, New York.
- “Food & The Social Order”, Prof. Priscilla Ferguson 2013. Columbia University, New York.
- “Negotiation: Getting to Yes”, 2005, Catholic University of Chile.