My research considers the social context of entrepreneurship from both a contemporary and historical perspective. I draw on large-scale surveys of entrepreneurs in the United States to explore processes of team formation, innovation, exchange, and boundary maintenance in nascent business startups. My historical analyses address entrepreneurial activity and constraint during periods of profound institutional change. This work has considered a diverse range of sectors, including the organizational transformation of Southern agriculture and industry after the Civil War, the transition of the U.S. healthcare system from professional monopoly to managed care, and the character of entrepreneurship during early mercantile and industrial capitalism.
Ruef, M. "Origins of Organizations: The Entrepreneurial Process." Research in the Sociology of Work 15 (2005): 63-100. Full Text
Ruef, M. "The Demise of an Organizational Form: Emancipation and Plantation Agriculture in the American South, 1860-1880." American Journal of Sociology 109 (2004): 1365-1410. Full Text
Ruef, M. "For Whom the Bell Tolls: Ecological Perspectives on Industrial Decline and Resurgence." Industrial and Corporate Change 13.1 (2004): 61-89. Full Text
Ruef, M. "A Sociological Perspective on Strategic Organization." Strategic Organization 1.2 (2003): 241-251. Full Text
Ruef, M, Aldrich, H, and Carter, N. "The Structure of Founding Teams: Homophily, Strong Ties, and Isolation among U.S. Entrepreneurs." American Sociological Review 68 (2003): 195-222.
Ruef, M, and Fletcher, B. "Legacies of American Slavery: Status Attainment among Southern Blacks after Emancipation." Social Forces 82.2 (2003): 445-480. Full Text
Ruef, M. "Strong Ties, Weak Ties and Islands: Structural and Cultural Predictors of Organizational Innovation." Industrial and Corporate Change 11.3 (2002): 427-449. Full Text
Ruef, M. "A Structural Event Approach to the Analysis of Group Composition." Social Networks 24.2 (2002): 135-160. Full Text
Ruef, M. "Unpacking the Liability of Aging: Toward a Socially-Embedded Account of Organizational Disbanding." Research in the Sociology of Organizations 19 (2002): 195-228.