Hi. I'm Karren Knowlton.

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in organizational behavior at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

I study how, when, and why individuals push for greater equality in the workplace.

I also study how micro-dynamic processes of teams and groups affect collaboration and organizing.

I am currently investigating what leads minorities to want to be trailblazers, effective allyship in organizations, inter-group helping, and how people with different cultural backgrounds can find common ground.


Motoyama, Y., Clark Muntean, S., Knowlton, K., & Özkazanç-Pan, B. 2021. Causes of the Gender Divide within Entrepreneurship Ecosystems. Local Economy. Forthcoming.
Motoyama, Y., & Knowlton, K. 2016. Examining the Connections within the Startup Ecosystem: A Case Study of St. Louis. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 7(1).
Carton, A., Knowlton, K., Coutifaris, C.,* & Kundro, T.,* & Boysen, A. How CEO construal level and role complementarity drive leader communication and organizational change.*Denotes equal authorship. 2nd round Revise and Resubmit at Academy of Management Journal.
Knowlton, K. Trailblazer Mindsets: When being under-represented helps you help others. Preparing for submission to Organization Science. Job market paper.

• Selected as a finalist of the 2020 Organization Science/INFORMS Dissertation Proposal Competition based on this work.

Knowlton, K. & Carton, A. Overcoming the stumbling blocks to outgroup help. Working paper.

• Selected for the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management Annual Conference (2017).

Teaching and Mentoring

I have taught active-learning seminars, guest lectured, TAd, and served in a year-long fellowship with the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania.
I also greatly enjoy teaching others about research and have mentored students in organizational research at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Select Teaching & Mentoring Testimonials

"Karren was very helpful and generous to her students. It was the one 9 am class that I actually looked forward to. She encouraged everyone to contribute to the conversation. I am glad that she was my recitation instructor."
"Karren did a great job as TA--very relatable and was good at incorporating her own experiences into the course, which helped contextualize concepts."
"Great worthwhile course for anyone to take. Karren was a great instructor and was always supportive while fostering an effective learning environment."
"Thank you for mentoring me this past semester! Looking back, I still feel astonished by how much I was able to learn from you in a few meetings. I am also incredibly excited to be researching OB... this coming fall."

Teaching Assistant Highlight

For the past three years, I have had the pleasure of TAing Decision Making in the Leadership Chair, an MBA-level course taught by William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman of Esteé Lauder. Weekly guest speakers included Judith Rodin, Kat Cole, Alex Gorsky, Ed Breen, and Joe Biden, among others. Students routinely comment that this is the most insightful and rewarding course they take during their time at Wharton.


My engineering team at Nike, Inc.

Prior to my academic career, I worked as a mechanical design engineer for Nike, Inc. I received an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009.

When I'm not unlocking the mysteries of social science, I enjoy training for triathlons, bird watching with my two cats, and various amateur musical pursuits.

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