Patricia Bromley

I am an Associate Professor in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS).

At PACS I direct the Global Civil Society and Sustainable Development Lab.  And at the GSE I teach courses related to the sociology of education, nonprofit organizations, 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 and management theory, comparative education, and the sociology of education, covering the substantive topics of sustainable development, 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. A main area of research looks at changes to citizenship education textbooks worldwide. Studies show increases in emphases on human rights, environmentalism, student empowerment, and diversity. A second area of work investigates the rise and transformation of formal organization. Many 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 entitled The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, 3rd edition (co-edited with Walter W. Powell, Stanford University Press, 2020) provides a theoretical and empirical assessment of the voluntary sphere.

An earlier book entitled Hyper-organization: Global organizational expansion (with John W. Meyer, Oxford University Press, 2015) seeks to explain the growing numbers and increasing internal complexity of formal organization – worldwide, and across all sorts of sectors.