Claudine Gartenberg

Claudine Gartenberg
  • Assistant Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2035 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: corporate strategy; organizational strategy; firm scope; motivation; corporate governance; compensation and pay inequality; corporate purpose

Links: CV, @cmgartenberg, Inaugural Corporate Strategy and Innovation Conference


Claudine Gartenberg is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on corporate purpose and pay inequality, and the implications of both for firm strategy and competitiveness. Her work has been published in top academic journals, including Management Science, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. She is an associate editor at Management Science, and serves on the editorial boards of Strategic Management Journal and Strategy Science.

Professor Gartenberg received a B.A. with honors in Physics from Harvard College, and a D.B.A. and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where she graduated as a Baker Scholar and received the Wyss Award for best doctoral research. She joins Wharton from the faculty of NYU Stern School.

Prior to joining academia, Professor Gartenberg was an account manager at a business consulting firm, working with clients such as PG&E, Chevron, Hallmark Cards, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

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  • Claudine Gartenberg (2023), The Contingent Relationship Between Purpose and Profits, Strategy Science, in press ().

    Abstract: When do for-profit corporations pursue both purpose and profits and when do they prioritize one over the other? This study explores this question, measuring the strength of purpose based on the perceptions of nearly 1 million employees across 635 U.S. public companies within 14 industry categories. Two main findings emerge. First, the relationship between purpose and profits varies widely across companies and industries. Second, companies with higher levels of innovation intensity, intangible capital, or long-term investors tend to pursue both purpose and profits, whereas companies with lower levels of these factors tend to prioritize one over the other. This evidence suggests that purpose and profits are compatible in settings that rely on innovation and long temporal horizons for value creation and opposed in settings that do not.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and Shun Yiu (2023), Acquisitions and Corporate Purpose, Strategy Science, in press ().

    Abstract: Purpose is undergoing a resurgence of interest across research and practice. Yet, we know little about how it relates to strategy and specifically, how strategic actions reinforce or undermine purpose in organizations. This study explores this question in the context of acquisitions. We examine 831 transactions using data from approximately 1.7 million employees to construct our measure of purpose. We find that, on average, employees’ sense of purpose drops after acquisitions. This drop is particularly pronounced among firms that undertake unique acquisitions: those involving unusual industry combinations. This relationship suggests a possible tension between strategic and motivational consequences of boundary changes. Firms may benefit strategically from these changes, particularly those that enable expansion into unique areas. These same actions, however, may also erode the purpose of the organization, with consequences for downstream performance.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and Anita M McGahan (2023), Authoritarianism, Populism, and the Global Retreat of Democracy: A Curated Discussion, Journal of Management Inquiry, 32 (1), pp. 3-20.

    Abstract: To the surprise of many in the West, the fall of the USSR in 1991 did not lead to the adoption of liberal democratic government around the world and the much anticipated “end of history.” In fact, authoritarianism has made a comeback, and liberal democracy has been on the retreat for at least the last 15 years culminating in the unthinkable: the invasion of a democratic European country by an authoritarian regime. But why does authoritarianism continue to spread, not only as an alternative to liberal democracy, but also within many liberal democracies where authoritarian leaders continue to gain strength and popularity? In this curated piece, contributors discuss some of the potential contributions of management scholarship to understanding authoritarianism, as well as highlight a number of directions for management research in this area.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and George Serafeim (2023), Corporate Purpose in Public and Private Firms, Management Science.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and Elaine Pak (Under Review), Corporate Ownership and Employee Compensation.

    Abstract: This study documents that firms with active corporate owners compensate their employees less than their peers. We analyze over 20 million employee records from 897 US firms and calculate pay differentials for employees in comparable positions across firms. The analysis yields three main insights. First, firms with external active owners (i.e., hedge funds and private equity firms) pay 3 to 5% less than other firms for comparable work. Second, these pay differentials correspond to differences in rent-sharing practices across these firms: firms with external active owners provide flatter incentives (i.e., lower bonus to base pay) and are less likely to grant equity to employees. Lastly, lower pay for comparable work does not correspond to higher profits for firms, even within industries that depend relatively more on cost management than on innovation. All together, these results are consistent with corporate owners having different orientations toward human capital, which in turn may reflect differing strategic approaches toward value creation and appropriation.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and Todd Zenger (2023), The Firm as a Subsociety: Purpose, Justice, and the Theory of the Firm, Organization Science, in press ().

    Abstract: Research in the “theory of the firm” tradition has often characterized firms as subeconomies, in which economic exchange is shaped by a central authority. We propose an expanded view of firms as subsocieties, in which authority is also responsible for establishing principles that shape cooperation among members. We draw on insights from political theory, sociology, and, to a lesser degree, legal theory to discuss how employees become members of subsocieties by exchanging rights, such as formal control over their work, for the benefits of membership. With this rights exchange, subsociety members develop expectations that those in positions of authority will use their control to define and sustain principles of justice and common purpose consistent with members’ moral sentiments. This view suggests expanded roles for authority and firm boundaries from what are incorporated into standard theories of the firm. These expanded roles have implications both for internal governance and for the boundary itself: When considering boundary changes, leaders must weigh both the economic and the social consequences of their decision.

  • Colin Mayer, Luigi Zingales, Patrick Bolton, Sophie L'Helias, Bengt Holmstrom, Paul Polman, Claudine Gartenberg, Caroline Flammer, Rebecca Henderson, Jordi Gual, Baroness Kingsmill, Jose Vinals, Jordi Canals, Marco Becht (2022), Can Purpose Deliver Better Corporate Governance?, , 33 (2).

  • Claudine Gartenberg (2022), Purpose-driven firms and sustainability, Handbook on the Business of Sustainability.

    Abstract: Corporate purpose and business sustainability appear to be intrinsically related ideas, and yet there is little research on the nature of this relationship. The chapter begins with a discussion of purpose and two parallel treatments of the topic. The “corporate purpose” treatment, rooted in early 20th century institutionalism, views purpose as a (or, possibly, the) primary differentiator of firms over markets. The “purpose of the corporation” treatment, rooted in a near century-long debate in law and finance on the role of corporations in society, considers purpose as the appropriate objective for corporations. At the confluence of these two treatments lies important implications for the firm: how purpose is determined, how it influences behavior at both the organizational and employee level, and the associated role of leadership. The chapter then considers how these implications intersect with business sustainability. I suggest mechanisms by which purpose and sustainability might be mutually reinforcing, and the conditions under which this might occur. Each of the sections of this chapter concludes with topics for future research.

  • Claudine Gartenberg (Working), Corporate Purpose and Firm Strategy.

  • Claudine Gartenberg and Julie Wulf (2020), Competition and Pay Inequality Within and Between Firms, Management Science.


All Courses

  • MGMT6110 - Managing Est Enterprise

    This course is about managing large enterprises that face the strategic challenge of being the incumbent in the market and the organizational challenge of needing to balance the forces of inertia and change. The firms of interest in this course tend to operate in a wide range of markets and segments, frequently on a global basis, and need to constantly deploy their resources to fend off challenges from new entrants and technologies that threaten their established positions. The class is organized around three distinct but related topics that managers of established firms must consider: strategy, human and social capital, and global strategy.

  • MGMT6130 - Manag Estab Enterprise

  • MGMT7820 - Strategic Implementation

    Much more is known about strategy formulation than its implementation, yet valid, sensible strategies often fail because of problems on the implementation side. This course provides you with tools to turn good strategy into successful reality. It covers the choices, structure, and conditions that enable the successful attainment of strategic objectives. Students learn from rigorous academic research on successful implementation, as well as a series of seasoned business leaders who will visit to share their own experience from the front lines.

  • MGMT8910 - Advanced Study-Smgt

  • MGMT9000 - Sem Strat Mgmt

    This course examines some of the central questions in management with economic approaches as a starting point, but with an eye to links to behavioral perspectives on these same questions. Economics concerns itself with goal directed behavior of individuals interacting in a competitive context. We adopt that general orientation but recognize that goal directed action need not take the form of maximizing behavior, particularly for organizations comprised of individuals with possibly divergent interests and distinct sub-goals. Further, we treat competitive processes as playing out over meaningful periods of calendar time and, in general, not equilibrating instantaneously. A central property of firms, as with any organization, is the interdependent nature of activity within them. Thus, understanding firms as "systems" is quite important, a perspective which has important implications for understanding processes of organizational adaptation. Among the sorts of questions we explore are the following: What underlies a firm's capabilities? How does individual knowledge aggregate to form collective capabilities? What do these perspectives on firms say about the scope of a firm's activities, both horizontally (diversification) and vertically (buy-supply relationships)? As a "foundations" course, readings will cover key conceptual foundations, but also provide an arc to current work --- an "arc" that will be developed more fully in our in-class discussions.

  • MGMT9260 - Sem Strat & Org Des

    This half-semester course examines one of the foundational questions in strategy: the role of organizational structure in both supporting and shaping strategy. As Winston Churchill famously said: "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us." This course examines this proposition from two traditions, the "institutional economics" and "information processing" schools of organizational design. We will examine foundational works from both schools, such as Coase, Williamson, Simon, March, and others, and then proceed to recent work in the area. Some of the questions that we will explore in the class are: why do firms exist? What determines their boundaries? What determines formal and informal structures within firms? How does the strategic context shape the answers to these questions? How might the nature of the firm and its boundaries relate to innovation, human capital, and knowledge creation? The aim of this class is to provide students with a grounding in the fundamental questions and contributions in this area, and to spark ideas for research in their own graduate work.

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2020
  • Ralph Gomory Best Industry Studies Award, Runner Up, 2018
  • SMS Best Paper Award Nomination (voluntarily opted out once paper was accepted for publication), 2018
  • Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research, Harvard Business School (one of 4 recipients across all departments), 2010
  • Financial Management Association, Best Paper Awards Semifinalist, “Did fair valuation depress equity values during the 2008 financial crisis?” with George Serafeim., 2010
  • Harvard University, Derek Bok Center Teaching Award, (rated 5.0 / 5.0 by students versus division average of 4.0 / 5.0)., 2008
  • Harvard Business School, Baker Scholar (top 5% of class)., 2006

In the News

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In the News

How Pay Inequality Affects the Bottom Line

Pay inequality is a persistent problem that is getting more exposure than ever before. Recent Wharton research examines how inequality affects individual workers and entire companies. Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 10/17/2017
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