Joel Gehman, PhD

Alberta School of Business Chair in Free Enterprise

Alberta School of Business

Strategic Management and Organization

About Me

Joel Gehman is the Alberta School of Business Chair in Free Enterprise and Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Organization. He is also Associate Director of the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.

He studies sustainability, innovation and strategy. In particular, he investigates how grand challenges related to sustainability and values affect organizational strategies, technology innovation, and institutional arrangements. And reciprocally, how organizations, innovation and institutions affect the emergence and trajectories of grand challenges related to sustainability and values. 

In approaching these questions, Gehman draws primarily on organization theory, together with insights from strategic management, and science and technology studies. His work also takes a process perspective, focusing on the organization of concerns over place and time. 

He is the investigator, co-investigator or recipient of more than $4 million in research funding. His ongoing research examines these issues in the context of technology entrepreneurship, B Corporations, sustainable food and wine, unconventional shale gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing patents, shareholder activism, multinational divestitures, social license to operate, cultural understandings of risk, and university technology spinouts, among others.

Before becoming a professor, Gehman spent 13 years in industry. He regularly advises and consults with diverse organizations. He graduated from Cornell University (B.S.) and the Pennsylvania State University (Ph.D.).

Editorial Positions

  • Journal of Business Venturing, Field Editor
  • Organization Theory, Associate Editor
  • Academy of Management Journal, Editorial Board Member
  • Administrative Science Quarterly, Editorial Board Member
  • Innovation: Organization and Management, Editorial Board Member
  • Organization Studies, Editorial Board Member

Other Positions

  • Academy of Management, Organization and Management Theory Division, Representative-at-Large (2017-2020)
  • Association of Science & Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta, Board Member (2017-present)
  • University of Alberta, Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research, Graduate Scholarship Committee (2018-present)
  • University of Alberta, Future Energy Systems, Communities and Aboriginal Peoples Theme Co-Champion (2016-present)


Selected Publications

Why We Care About Certified B Corporations: From Valuing Growth to Certifying Values Practices. Academy of Management Discoveries.

The Legitimacy Threshold Revisited: How Prior Successes and Failures Spill Over to Other Endeavors on Kickstarter. Academy of Management Journal.

Hidden Badge of Honor: How Contextual Distinctiveness Affects Category Promotion among Certified B Corporations. Academy of Management Journal.

Values Work: A Process Study of the Emergence and Performance of Organizational Values Practices. Academy of Management Journal.

Serendipity Arrangements for Exapting Science-Based Innovations. Academy of Management Perspectives.

Performativity: Not a Destination But an Ongoing Journey. Academy of Management Review.

Going Public: Debating Matters of Concern as an Imperative for Management Scholars. Academy of Management Review.

Theory Evaluation, Entrepreneurial Processes, and Performativity. Academy of Management Review.

Social License to Operate: Legitimacy by Another Name? Canadian Public Administration.

Technological Exaptation: A Narrative Approach. Industrial and Corporate Change.

Cultural Entrepreneurship: From Making Culture to Cultural Making. Innovation: Organization and Management.

Positively Deviant: Identity Work through B Corporation Certification. Journal of Business Venturing

Unleashing Sustainability Transformations through Robust Action. Journal of Cleaner Production.

Finding Theory-Method Fit: A Comparison of Three Qualitative Approaches to Theory Building. Journal of Management Inquiry.

Beyond Homo Entrepreneurus: Judgment and the Theory of Cultural Entrepreneurship. Journal of Management Studies.

Performativity as Ongoing Journeys: Implications for Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Long Range Planning.

Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited. Organization Studies.

Complexity Arrangements for Sustained Innovation: Lessons from 3M Corporation. Organization Studies

Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work. Regulation and Governance.

Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys: Evolutionary, Relational and Durational. Research Policy

Contextualizing Entrepreneurial Innovation: A Narrative Perspective. Research Policy

Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges: The Case of Climategate. Research Policy.

Selected Awards

2018 Ascendant Scholar Award from the Western Academy of Management

2017 Emerging Scholar Award from the Academy of Management Organizations and the Natural Environment Division 

2017 Roland Calori Prize for the best article published in Organization Studies during 2015-2016 

2016 Campus Sustainability Leadership Award from the University of Alberta

2015 People’s Choice Award from the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability 

2014 People’s Choice Award from the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability 

2013 #1 ranked Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant 

2012 Best Paper on Environmental & Social Practices from the Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory Division