Patricia Bromley


At the GSE I teach courses related to the sociology of education and global education policy in the International and Comparative Education Program.Previously, I worked in the Public Administration Program at the University of Utah. My research spans a range of fields including organization theory, comparative education, and the sociology of education, covering the substantive topics of minority and human rights, nonprofits/civil society, and globalization.


Research Interests

Overall, my work focuses on the rise and globalization of a culture emphasizing rational, scientific thinking and expansive forms of rights. Empirically, I draw on two settings – education systems and organizations – to show how the institutionalization of these new cultural emphases transforms societies worldwide.

Currently, I am working on a Spencer Foundation-funded project that examines the content of civic education in the US and Canada from 1850 to 2010. This research builds on earlier work that examines how civic education worldwide changes (e.g. towards more international emphases) in response to social and cultural rationalization and globalization.

I pursue a second line of institutional research that looks at the transformation of social and cultural domains of life globally, particularly through the emergence of formal organizations. A series of projects focus on the charitable sector, examining topics such as the rise of scientific goals (like research and evaluation), the use of strategic planning, formal responses to restrictions on political activity, and the emergence of codes of conduct. A recent book project (with John W. Meyer) entitled Hyper-organization: Global organizational expansion seeks to explain the growing numbers and increasing internal complexity of formal organization – worldwide, and across all sorts of sectors. Additional projects in progress examine how firms are being transformed by rationalized social and cultural pressures, through ratings systems on dimensions like environmental performance and in self-representations to stakeholders in annual reports.



  • All
  • Education
  • Organizations
  • Human Rights, Diversity & Sustainable Development
  • Textbooks
  • Actorhood & Individual Empowerment
  • Nonprofits