Kenneth Benson has been with our department since 1966. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and specializes in theory, organizations and work.

J. Kenneth Benson

J. Kenneth Benson

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. The University of Texas, Austin

Research Interests

Benson continues to develop a dialectical approach to the sociology of organizations and institutions, originally outlined in several articles published in the 1970s and 1980s. He recently published a critique of institutional theory and a paper on the implications of human rights for the study of organizations, occupations, and work. He is also pursuing a dialectical approach to the study of industrial policy.

In addition, Benson is interested in the tensions between the practices of the professions and the religious concerns of their publics. He has conducted two surveys and presented several papers on these issues at professional meetings. These studies follow from his 1973 article on bureaucratic-professional conflict and have implications for institutional theories of secularization and de-secularization.

Recent Publications

“Human Rights and the Study of Organizations, Occupations, and Work.” Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights. Edited by David Brunsma, Keri Lyall Smith, and Brian Gran. Paradigm Publishers, forthcoming.

“Dialectical Theory of Organizations and Management.” The Enclyclopedia of Management Theory. Edited by Eric Kessler. Sage Publications, forthcoming.

“Institutionalism and Capitalism: A Dialectical and Historical Contingency Approach. Pp. 67-97 in Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 17, Edited by Harland Prechel. 2008 (with Byung-Soo Kim as co-author).

“Active-Competitive Industrial Policy: From Project to Logic of Action.” Pp. 169-186 in Social Policy and the Conservative Agenda. Edited by Clarence Lo and Michael Schwartz, Blackwell, 1998 (with Nick Paretsky as co-author).

In Progress

“Professions, Religions, and Publics: A Report on Two Surveys.” In: Professional Creativity and the Common Good: Toward Alternatives to the Culture Wars.” Edited by Edmund Lambeth, submitted (with Ed Brent and Maksim Kokushkin as co-authors).