Imran Chowdhury

Diana Davis Spencer Chair of Social Entrepreneurship; Associate Professor of Business and Management


Diana Davis Spencer Discovery Center 2302

(508) 286-3915


Dr. Imran Chowdhury is the Diana Davis Spencer Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at Wheaton College in Norton, MA, and Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin’s International Summer and Winter University. He teaches courses in entrepreneurship, strategic management and international management, and conducts research at the intersection of business and society, encompassing domains such as social entrepreneurship and innovation, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, and community-focused organizations. He was previously a faculty member at Pace University in New York City.

Chowdhury graduated from Stuyvesant High School and earned his undergraduate degree in anthropology and geography at Hunter College, where he was the recipient of an Athena Scholarship and a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship. He completed graduate studies in France, obtaining a master’s degree at L’Institut européen d’administration des affaires (INSEAD), and a Ph.D. from L’École supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales (ESSEC Business School). He serves on the Editorial Board of Academy of Management Learning & Education and is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.


Ph.D., L’École supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales (ESSEC Business School)
B.A., Hunter College

Research Interests

My research interests lie at the intersection of social innovation and organizational theory, and are characterized by a strong international dimension. I attempt to answer one fundamental question through my work: How do organizations manage social and economic goals simultaneously? To answer this question I study how institutions impact important processes such as knowledge transfer, partnership, market development, and the construction of business models and professional fields. By drawing upon sociological concepts such as institutional logics (Thornton and Ocasio, 1999), I illustrate how organizations attempting to balance social and economic objectives transfer knowledge, organize for growth, and are shaped by and find opportunities within their internal and external environments. Methodologically, I utilize various methods (including single case studies, comparative case analysis, and historical methods) to examine data sets composed of interviews, field observations, organizational documents, archival records, and surveys.

Currently, I manage or collaborate on several ongoing research projects focusing on social entrepreneurship, innovation, and related areas, including studies examining social entrepreneurship and communities in Brazil’s tourism sector, social innovation incubators in New England, and the emergence of multinational enterprises during early-modern history in Asia. The broader research program I am engaged in consists of four streams of work: (1) the role of institutions in shaping social entrepreneurial activity; (2) social responsibility and social business; (3) communities and organizations; and (4) globalization. I also have a strong interest in management education and program design, in particular related to social entrepreneurship and innovation.

My work has received several research awards from external academic associations, including Best Paper on the History of Corporate Social Responsibility (2016) and Best Student Paper (2012) from the Academy of Management’s (AOM’s) Social Issues in Management division, Best International Paper (2016) from the AOM’s Management History division, Best Empirical Paper (2015) from the Eastern Academy of Management, and a Distinguished Dissertation award (2013) from the European Doctoral Programs Association in Management and Business Administration.

Teaching Interests

My teaching seeks to combine research-based frameworks and study of real-world examples and experiences to provide students with a holistic understanding of the organizational world. To this end, I work not only in the classroom, but also outside of it by developing and writing pedagogical materials, both articles and teaching cases, for my own courses as well as for instructors at business schools and universities around the world.

As an organizational researcher, my teaching philosophy is informed by a desire to provide students frameworks and experiences that will help them to navigate the organizations that they will inhabit through the course of their working lives. This approach is informed both by my work experience in the biotechnology, public health, and international development sectors and by my training as a social scientist.

At Wheaton, I teach courses in Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation (MGMT 225), Innovation, Social Impact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (First Year Experience), Strategies for Social Change, and Senior Seminar (MGMT 401).


Ahmadsimab, A., & Chowdhury, I. 2020. Managing tensions and divergent institutional logics in firm-NPO partnerships. Journal of Business Ethics, forthcoming.

Chowdhury, I. 2019. Social entrepreneurship, water supply, and resilience: Lessons from the sanitation sector. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 9(3): 327-339.

Mehrpouya, A., & Chowdhury, I. 2018. Re-thinking the CSP-CFP linkage: Analyzing the mechanisms involved in translating socially-responsible behavior to financial performance. Advances in Strategic Management, 38: 227-256.

Green, C., Frid, C., & Chowdhury, I. 2017. International case studies in social entrepreneurship: A focus on Brazil. In P. Miesing & M. Aggestam (Eds.), Educating Social Entrepreneurs: From Business Plan Formulation to Implementation (Vol. II). New York, NY: Business Expert Press, 63-76.

Frid, C., Chowdhury, I., & Green, C. 2016. An experiential field study in social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 13: 243-264.

Chowdhury, I. 2016. From social entrepreneur to social enterprise: Organizational change at the World Toilet Organization. In A. Rahim (Ed.), Current Topics in Management (Volume 18). London, UK: Routledge, 183-200.