Erynn Beaton studies and teaches about how nonprofit organizations can be organized and managed as a mechanism for social change.

She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the business school’s program on Organizations & Social Change. She also had the privilege of receiving an M.B.A from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Her research builds upon organizational theory by holding up nonprofits and the nonprofit sector for critical inspection. Her expertise is in qualitative methods, with a particular passion for ethnography. Her dissertation was a comparative organizational ethnography of three nonprofit organizations examining their experiences with the institutionalization of managerial values.

Erynn currently teaches the undergraduate Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations, a course intended to acquaint future nonprofit leaders with the diversity, nature, and debates inherent to the sector.

Previously, Erynn worked in advertising and marketing at big Chicago corporations, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and Starcom Worldwide. During that time, she assisted in leading the board of Reading in Motion, a nonprofit literacy program. These experiences, and a lifelong dedication to volunteering, motivate her teaching and research at the intersection of management and the nonprofit sector.

Areas of research

  • Nonprofit Hybridity and Social Enterprise
  • Nonprofit-led Social Movements and Political Advocacy
  • Nonprofit Sector Institutional Identity



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