My research interests lie at the intersection of entrepreneurship, social movements, and environmental sustainability. Societal-level concerns related to the environment, social conditions, and other factors have led to new innovations and entrepreneurial opportunities— such as renewable energy, electric cars, and 3-D printers—that not only offer alternatives to incumbent offerings, but that call their very existence into question. In this modern market setting, non-market actors and environments play an increasingly important role in shaping entrepreneurial outcomes. In addressing research questions drawn from this setting, I examine the actors and institutions that facilitate, or hinder, entrepreneurial activity oriented towards alleviating environmental and social problems.

Within this area of study, my research falls into three main categories. In the first, I explore the efforts of social movements to facilitate the emergence of new industries – paying particular attention to how the interactions of invested actors lead to varying entrepreneurial and industry outcomes. In a second stream of research, I examine the institutional entrepreneurship of activists as they target incumbent firms and industries to change their practices—thus laying the groundwork for new entrepreneurial opportunities to emerge. In the final area of study, I investigate how incumbent firms respond to the social movement pressure and entrepreneurial activity associated with these emergent industries, focusing on the subversive strategies that are often employed (corporate front groups, counter ballot measures, scientists-for-hire).

Across my research, I take a methodologically integrative approach. Starting with a novel research question, I use rich, qualitative data to explore the focal phenomenon. From there, I build theory that informs an understanding of not only the central case, but beyond to the broader area of interest. Finally, I make use of larger data sets to empirically test the theories developed from my qualitative analyses and theory development. 



Leitzinger, J., King, B., & Briscoe, F. (2018). Introduction: Integrating research perspectives on business and society, in Briscoe, F., King, B. & Leitzinger, J. (ed.) Social Movements, Stakeholders, and Non-market Strategy. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 56, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 1-18

Leitzinger, J., Navis, C., Fisher, G., & Waldron, T. (2016). Movements, markets, and the power of living stories. Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, OMT Division.

Edited Volumes

Briscoe, F., King, B., Leitzinger, J. (Eds.). (2018). Social Movements, Stakeholders, and Nonmarket Strategy. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 56. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Leitzinger, J, Navis, C., Waldron, T., & Fisher, G. Movements, markets, & the power of living stories. (Revise & Resubmit)

Leitzinger, J. Wolves in sheep’s clothing: Corporate front groups as a response to activism and industry emergence. (Preparing for submission to Academy of Management Journal) 

Leitzinger, J. & Spencer, J. Multiple paths to the same destination: How societal, state, and market actors impact the emergence of new industries (Preparing for submission to Academy of Management Review)

Leitzinger, J. Hidden agendas: An exploration of corporate front groups as a form of non-market strategy. (Working paper, targeted for Academy of Management Discoveries)


Leitzinger, J. & Trzebiatowski, T. When change leads to conflict: Collective identity threats and the evolution of movement-driven markets. (Theory development, targeted for Academy of Management Review) 

Leitzinger, J. & David, R. Too many cooks in the kitchen? How social movement composition impacts market category emergence (Data analysis stage, targeted for Administrative Science Quarterly)

York, J., Leitzinger, J. & Henn, R. Construction of a countermovement: Industry response to green building certification. (Data collection, targeted for Organization Science)

David, R., Leitzinger, J., & Sine, W. Local food movements and local food entrepreneurship in three cities project (Data collection stage)


Outstanding Paper (2017) Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability Research Conference, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Best Paper (2017) Journal of Business Venturing Thematic Consortium, London, Ontario

Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices Runner-up (2016) OMT Division of the Academy of Management, AOM Annual Meeting, Anaheim, California

Best Paper Finalist (2014) Sustainability, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship Conference, Denver, Colorado