Tuesday, February 7, 2017
768 Library Evans Hall (newly renovated) 
Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, UC Riverside

Join the conversation, as Steven G. Brint, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, UC Riverside will discuss, "The Educational Backgrounds of American Business and Government Leaders: Inter-Industry Variation in the Recruitment of Executives". Sociological work in the tradition of C. Wright Mills and E. Digby Baltzell has assumed that recruitment into corporate and government leadership is strongly concentrated among graduates of elite private universities. This tradition has influenced the work of more recent theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens and has appeared most recently in the ethnographic work of Lauren Rivera.  In this seminar, based on a paper by Sarah Yoshikawa and Steven G. Brint, they develop a new approach to conceptualizing industrial sectors in the United States based on whether firms manipulate symbols or the material world and the extent to which they employ comparatively high proportions of workers with advanced degrees.  They examine the educational backgrounds of nearly 4000 top corporate executives and government officials drawn from 15 sectors (including government).  The findings are indicative of corporate and government leaders being drawn disproportionately from elite private institutions, at three to four times what would be expected at random, but leaders from these educational backgrounds nevertheless account for only 18 percent of the sample.  Firms in sectors that employ relatively high proportions of workers with advanced degrees and are primarily engaged in the manipulation of symbols, such as media and finance, are significantly more likely to recruit from elite private institutions.  Firms in sectors that employ relatively low proportions of workers with advanced degrees and are primarily engaged in the manipulation of the material world, such as construction and energy, are significantly less likely to recruit from elite private institutions.  Multivariate analysis indicates that these relationships hold when controlling for firm size, firm location, executive position, and gender. 


Steven Brint is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, and the director of the Colleges & Universities 2000 study.Steven Brint is an organizational sociologist whose current research focuses on topics in the sociology of higher education, the sociology of professions, and middle-class politics. He is the author of three books:The Diverted Dream (with Jerome Karabel) (Oxford University Press, 1989), In an Age of Experts (Princeton University Press, 1994),Schools and Societies (3rd ed. Stanford University Press 2017). He is the editor of The Future of the City of Intellect (Stanford University Press, 2002). He is the co-editor (with Jean Reith Schroedel) of the two volume series, Evangelicals and Democracy in America (Russell Sage Foundation Press 2009). His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Theory, Minerva, Work and Occupations, Sociology of Education, The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, The Journal of Higher Education, and many other journals. His book, The Diverted Dream, won the American Education Research Association's “Outstanding Book” award of 1991 and the Council of Colleges and Universities' “Outstanding Research Publication” award the same year. His article, “Socialization Messages in Primary Schools: An Organizational Analysis,” (with Mary F. Contreras and Michael T. Matthews) won the American Sociological Association's Willard Waller Award for the best article on education in 2001. His work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. He is currently at work on a new book,The Ends of Knowledge: Organizational and Cultural Change in U.S. Colleges and Universities, 1980-2015.

A native of Albuquerque, NM, Steven Brint received his B.A. with highest honors in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University. He joined the faculty in Sociology at the University of California, Riverside in 1993, after teaching at Yale University from 1985-1992. At UCR, he received the Chancellor's Award for Fostering Undergraduate Research in 2006.

Cosponsored: Sociology