• Phone: 617-358-6073
  • E-Mail:  somahony@bu.edu
  • Office: 647
  • Office Hours: By Appointment
  • Address: Boston University Questrom School of Business
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

Profile Summary

Professor O’Mahony is Chair of the Strategy and Innovation Department. Her research explores how technical and creative projects organize for innovation. She has examined how high technology contractors, open source programmers, artists, music producers, internet startups and product development teams coordinate their efforts in projects, teams and communities. She is interested in how people create organizing structures that promote innovation, creativity and growth without replicating the bureaucratic structures they strive to avoid. Dr. O’Mahony’s research has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, Research in Organizational Behavior, Research Policy, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Industry and Innovation, and the Journal of Management and Governance. A former consultant with Price Waterhouse LLP and Electronic Data Systems, she has consulted to organizations such as IDEO, the Global Business Network, Novell, Cap Gemini, Proquest, Microsoft, McDonald Investments, and the European Union.
  • Education Open or Close

    Ph D, Stanford University, Management Science and Engineering, 2002.

    MPA - Masters in Public Administration, Cornell University School of Public Affairs, Science and Technology Policy, 1993.

    BS, Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations, Organizational Behavior, 1991.

  • PublicationsOpen or Close

    Journal Articles:

      O'Mahony, S., Seidel, V., & Packalen, K. (2016). Help me do it on my own: How entrepreneurs manage autonomy and constraint within incubator organizations. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 47, 277-309.

      O'Mahony, S., & Dahlander, L. (2016). One foot in, one foot out: how does individuals' external search breadth affect innovation outcomes?. Strategic Management Journal , 37(2), 280-302.

      Seidel, V., & O'Mahony, S. (2014). Managing the Repertoire: Stories, Metaphors, Prototypes, and Concept Coherence in Product Innovation. Organization Science, 25(3), 691-712.

      O'Mahony, S., & Lakhani, K. (2011). Organizations in the Shadow of Communities. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 33, 3-36.

      O'Mahony, S., & Dahlander, L. (2011). Progressing to the Center: Coordinating Project Work. Organization Science, 22(4), 961-979.

      O'Mahony, S., & Lingo, E. L. (2010). Nexus Work: Brokerage on Creative Projects. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55(1), 47-81. Ithaca, NY.

      O'Mahony, S., Kochan, T. A., Guillen, M. F., & Hunter, L. W. (2009). Introduction to the Special Research Forum - Public Policy and Management Research: Find the Common Ground. Academy of Management Journal, 52(6), 1088-1100.

      O'Mahony, S., & Chen, K. (2009). Differentiating Organizational Boundaries. Research in Sociology of Organization, 26, 183-220.

      O'Mahony, S. “From NonProfit to Venture Backed: Understanding the Process of Form Conversion”.


      O'Mahony, S., & Kirtley, J. Deciding When to Change: How Problems and Opportunities Trigger Change in Entrepreneurial Firm Strategy. Strategic Management Journal,

      O'Mahony, S., & Massa, F. Hiding in Plain Sight: How Repertoire Reconfiguration enables Dark Communities to Organize in Secret. Organization Science,

      Grodal, S., & O'Mahony, S. From Field Consensus to Fragmentation: How Means-ends Decoupling Hinders Progress on Grand Challenges. Academy of Management Journal,

    Book Chapters:

      O'Mahony, S., & Bechky, B. (2016). Leveraging Comparative Field Data for Theory Generation, in Handbook of Qualitative Organizational Research: Innovative Pathways and Methods (16). : Rouledge, Taylor and Francis Groiup, pp 168-176.

      Ferraro, F., & O'Mahony, S. (2012). in "Managing the Boundary of an Open Project,” in Market Emergence and Transformation, W. Powell and J. Padgett, Eds, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp 545-565, pp 545-565.

  • General ServiceOpen or Close

    Service to the Profession:

      Regional, Professional/To the Academy, Other Questrom Service Area, Program Organizer, Boston Field Research Community. (January 2015 - December 2015).
      Organize Boston Field Research Community quarterly conference rotating between HBs, MIT, BC and BU

  • Editorial And Review ActivitiesOpen or Close

    O'Mahony, S. Administrative Science Quarterly, Editorial Board Member, International, Standing Editorship (Edited Multiple Publications), Appointed, Academic. (December 1, 2013 - Present).

    O'Mahony, S. Academy of Management Journal, Editorial Board Member, International, Standing Editorship (Edited Multiple Publications), Appointed, Academic. ( - Present).

    Review 6-8 manuscripts a year.

  • Academic, Military and Professional PositionsOpen or Close

    Assistant Professor, UC Davis GSM. (July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2009).

    Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School. (July 1, 2002 - June 30, 2007).

  • Awards and HonorsOpen or Close

    2015 Questrom Award for Institutional Excellence, Boston University, Service, University. (May 14, 2015).

    Editor's Choice Collection, Administrative Science Quarterly, Research. (February 28, 2013).

    Nexus Work: Brokerage on Creative Projects Administrative Science Quarterly 2010 55:47-81; was selected as one of 8 key articles on Networks and Knowledge

    2010 Outstanding Author Contribution Award, Emerald Literati Network Publisher, Research. (June 1, 2010).
    Awarded to best paper in Research in the Sociology of Organizations 2010

    American Sociological Association, Computer Information Technology Division, Outstanding Paper Award, American Sociological Association, Research. (August 1, 2005).

  • DirectorshipOpen or Close

    Board Director, Sustainable Nantucket