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The spirit of entrepreneurship

Professor of sociology and entrepreneurship Patricia Thornton is the newly-elected chair-elect of the Organization and Management Division (OMT) for the Academy of Management (AOM).

By Haley Venglar ’19

Aggies are known for possessing leadership skills that are virtually unmatched anywhere else. As professor of sociology and entrepreneurship and leader of the College of Liberal Arts’ entrepreneurship initiative, Pat Thornton is fond of saying, “It’s a short step from the Aggie spirit to the entrepreneurial spirit.” And as an Aggie, she is perfect for her role as the newly-elected chair-elect of the Organization and Management Division (OMT) for the Academy of Management (AOM).

“I am humbled by the task of participating in the leadership of the OMT and I feel very honored to be elected to do so,” said Thornton. “I’ll be working with a great group of people and I look forward to fostering the discussion and research that guide management practice.”

Thornton is a longtime member of the AOM, the pre-eminent professional association for management and organization scholars around the world. Now as the chair-elect of OMT, she will bring her experience to this prestigious position, and play a role along with member colleagues in shaping the activities of the OMT over the next five years.

“I am interested in purposeful research and teaching that enlighten strategies for reinventing business with sustainable social impact,” said Thornton. “Organization and management theory is important because it guides organizational leaders in how to be more efficient and profitable. Yet, we need to research and teach not only how to be more efficient and effective, but also how to make meaningful social impact that makes the world a more inclusive and better place.”

Thornton has hands-on experience in the entrepreneurial world herself. She has started a successful non-profit organization from the ground up, invested her time in students that are interested in creating their own companies, and now wants to use her new position of leadership to encourage others to study and create business for the better.

“We, as entrepreneurs, basically have a dual impact; it’s not just to create a new product and an efficient organization, it’s to also make an impact in society,” said Thornton. “In all my years of teaching entrepreneurship, I’ve never met one person that was just in it just for the money; they’re always working to make a difference. I want to seed that idea more effectively in universities with reach to spread these ideas into student and management consulting audiences.”

Founded in 1936 and now supporting nearly 20,000 members across more than 120 countries, the AOM aims to inspire and enable a better world through scholarship and teaching about management and organizations.