Tracy Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor ; Graduate Faculty

Specialty: Strategic Management, Organizational Change, Insti

Thompson, Tracy

Contact information

Dept: Milgard School of Business
Room: GWP 427
Phone: 253-692-5636


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1994.
  • M.S., Northwestern University, 1991.


Tracy Thompson earned her doctorate in Organization Behavior from Northwestern University in 1994. She is a founding faculty of the Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her areas of specialization include strategic management and organizational change. Research interests focus on organizational change, social networks, and corporate governance. Her work has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Corporate Governance, Organization Development Journal, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Journal of Managerial Education, and in several edited volumes. Dr Thompson's professional experience includes working in an economic consulting firm where she prepared expert testimony for complex business and anti-trust litigation. In addition, she has taught in executive education programs for the NMC, a media industry center at Northwestern University, and in several executive development courses for State Farm Insurance (Pacific Northwest Zone) and MultiCare Health System.


Strategic management, organizational change, institutional change.

Selected Publications

  • THOMPSON, T.A., Purdy, J.M. When a Good Idea Isnt Enough: Curricular Innovation as a Political Process. Forthcoming, Academy of Management Education and Learning.
  • THOMPSON, T.A., Purdy, J.M. & Summers, D. (2008) A Five Factor Framework for Coaching Middle Managers. Organizational Development Journal, 26(3).
  • THOMPSON, T. A., Valley, K., and Smith, M. P. (2000). The range, part A, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing (Case: N9-800-245).
  • THOMPSON, T. A. (2000). The range, part B, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing (Case: N9-800-246).
  • THOMPSON, T. A. and Valley, K. L. (1998). Changing formal and informal structure to enhance organizational knowledge. In G. Hamel, C.K. Prahalad, H. Thomas and D. O'Neal (eds) Strategic Flexibility: Managing in a Turbulent Economy, Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons, 137-154.
  • Valley, K. L. and THOMPSON, T. A. (1998). Sticky ties and bad attitudes: Relational and individual bases of resistance to change. In R. M. Kramer and M. A. Neale (eds) Power and Influence in Organizations, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 39-66.
  • Graham, G. and THOMPSON, T. A. (Eds.) (1997). Inside newsroom teams: An editor's guide to the promise and problems. Evanston, IL: NMC, ISBN 0-9656018-3-8.
  • , T. A. and Davis, G. F. (1997). The politics of corporate control and the future of shareholder activism in the United States. Corporate Governance: An International Review, (5)3: 152-159.
  • THOMPSON, T. A., Purdy, J. M. and Fandt, P. M. (1997). Building a strong foundation: Using a computer simulation in an introductory management course. Journal of Management Education, (21)3: 418-434.
  • Davis, G. F. and THOMPSON, T. A. (1994). A social movement perspective on corporate control. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39: 141-173.
  • Hirsch, P. M. and THOMPSON, T. A. (1994). The stock market as audience: The impact of public ownership on newspapers. In J. S. Ettema and D. C. Whitney (eds) Audiencemaking, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 142-158.

Current research

Dr. Thompson's current research focuses on organizational change in institutionalized contexts. She is investigating how every-day strategizing inside organizations influences actor's abilities to create radical organizational change in the public power industry. She also is investigating how organizational interventions serve to alter social structure and trust among employees in a healthcare organization which results in improved safety practices.

Working papers

  • Using Agency to Link Micro and Macro Views of Radical Change, Jill M. Purdy & Tracy A. Thompson, under second round of review at Human Relations.

Honors and Awards

  • Beta Gamma Sigma, University of Washington, Tacoma, 1997
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award - Business Policy and Strategy Division, 1994
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Stanford University, 1986
  • Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, Stanford University, 1986


  • International Academy of Management

Academic Service

  • Member of Executive Committee and OMT Communications Coordinator, Organization Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management, 2000 to present
  • Member, Academy of Management Local Arrangements Committee, 2002-2003
  • Member of Executive Board for Northwest International Business Educator's Network, 2001 to present
  • Reviewer for Academy of Management Journal, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Economic Sociology, Journal of Management Inquiry, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science.