Diane Burton

Professor of Human Resource Studies (ILR)


I am a faculty member in the ILR School at Cornell University. My primary appointment is in human resource studies with courtesy appointments in organizational behavior and sociology. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2009, I was a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. I started my academic career at the Harvard Business School teaching leadership and organizational behavior. I earned my Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University and served as a lecturer and researcher in organizational behavior and human resources management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

I am an organizational sociologist interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. I study how management systems affect firms and individuals.
My primary research is a major study of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley including the study of entrepreneurial teams and executive careers. More recently I have been studying R&D teams. I am also studying leadership in the non-profit sector and employment practices in law firms.

Research Focus

  • Organizations
  • Employment Systems
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Stratification


The following is a list of some recent publications. A complete list is available here

  • Mary Diane Burton, M. D., Sørensen, J. B., & Dobrev, S. D. (2016). A careers perspective on entrepreneurship [Electronic version].Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(2), 237-247.
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman. 2008. Founding the Future: The Evolution of Top Management Teams from Founding to IPO, Organization Science. 19(1):3-24.
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman, O’Reilly. 2007. Early Teams: The Impact of Team Demography on VC Financing and Going Public, Journal of Business Venturing. 22(2):147-173.
  • Mary Diane Burton, C Beckman. 2007. Leaving a Legacy: Role Imprints and Successor Turnover in Young Firms, American Sociological Review. 72:239-266.