Kelley Packalen's research is at the intersection of entrepreneurship, strategy and organization theory. She is broadly interested in how career histories of founders may influence firm level outcomes in three related areas of research. In the first stream of work she looks at how people's prior work experiences, affiliations and their status may interact to help or hinder them in subsequent career decisions. In the context of biotechnology firms, her research shows that while high status teams can live off their reputations, middle status firms must emphasize their skills, and low status firms are most dependent on their friends for getting ahead. The second stream of work considers the regional differences in the development of an industry by looking at the diverging patterns of who became involved in the process of founding biotechnology companies in two prominent American regions. Finally, Professor Packalen is also interested in understanding the emergence of networks with a particular focus on the temporal relationship between different types of networks (e.g. when do individual level relationships lead to organization relationships and vice versa?).
Professor Packalen has received fellowships for her research from the Kauffman Foundation and Social Science Research Council. Her work has been presented at conferences and published in multiple formats. At Queen's University Professor Packalen teaches introductory entrepreneurship and business plan courses to students in the Commerce Program as well as two of the School's MBA Programs. She is also involved in entrepreneurial activities in the community, including commenting on start-ups in a national newspaper, and having served as a judge for the City's business plan competition.
Kelley Packalen completed her PhD in Industrial Engineering with a focus on organizational behaviour, strategy and entrepreneurship at Stanford University, where she also received a Masters in Sociology. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree with honours from Wellesley College, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Economics. Prior to starting at Stanford, Kelley spent two years working as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School, where she wrote cases about the strategic challenges facing high technology firms. Her cases have been among those translated into other languages and included in the HBS Press Premier Case Series.