My research is focused on understanding how ties to external organizations and stakeholders (e.g., affiliated nonprofit organizations, governments, faculty, and trustees) affect the behaviors and output of higher education organizations (HEOs) with an emphasis on how these ties, and their effects, change over time. I am currently working on two primary research projects. 

First, I am continuing the work I began with Dr. Sheila Slaughter and Dr. Barrett J. Taylor while I was at UGA. We are using a mixed methods approach to understand how elite research universities are tied to the larger economy via their trustees, how this has changed from 1975 to 2015, and the consequences of these ties for universities. Preliminary findings from this work show that trustees serve as boundary spanners connecting universities to external organizations and the larger economy and that these ties have substantial consequences for these institutions in a number of areas including their identity, institutional stratification, and institutional conflict of interest.  

Second, I am working on a separate three year NSF funded project with Dr. Erin Leahey, my Co-PI, to understand university commitments to interdisciplinary research (IDR) and their consequences for research universities. Specifically, we are developing a multi-dimensional measure of universities’ commitment to IDR to determine how universities' levels of commitment differ. In addition we are beginning to evaluate how external influences and internal pressures are related to differences in how universities nationwide vary in their commitment to IDR. Future work will also assess the consequences of universities’ IDR commitment levels for their prestige, productivity, and financial well-being.


Barringer, S. N. (2016). The changing finances of public higher education organizations: Diversity, change and discontinuity. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 46, 223-263. (Link)

Barringer, S. N., & Slaughter, S. (2016). University trustees and the entrepreneurial university: Inner circles, interlocks, and exchanges. In S. Slaughter & B. J. Taylor (Eds.), Higher Education, Stratification, and Workforce Development: Competitive Advantage in Europe, the US, and Canada (pp. 151-171): Springer. (Link)

Slaughter, S., Thomas, S. L., Johnson, D., & Barringer, S. N. (2014). Institutional conflict of interest: The role of interlocking directorates in the scientific relationships between universities and the corporate sector. The Journal of Higher Education, 85(1), 1-35. (PDF)

Barringer, S. N., Eliason, S. R., & Leahey, E. (2013). A history of causal analysis in the social sciences. In S. L. Morgan (Ed.), Handbook of Causal Analysis for Social Research (pp. 9-26). New York: Springer. (Link)

Galaskiewicz, J., & Barringer, S. N. (2012). Social enterprises and social categories. In B. Gidron & Y. Hasenfeld (Eds.), Social Enterprises: An Organizational Perspective (pp. 47-70). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (PDF)