Tyler Wry

Tyler Wry
  • Associate Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2211 SHDH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104


Professor Tyler Wry studies hybrid ventures, which are organizations that combine related, but potentially contradictory aims in their core. For example, many nanotechnology startups are organized around the joint pursuit of scientific discovery and technology commercialization, and social enterprises work to generate profits while simultaneously addressing societal issues. These organizations have the potential to generate important commercial and social innovations, but also face a number of unique challenges, particularly in the startup stage of development. Building on this, Tyler’s research focuses on how hybrids emerge, attract resources, and positively affect society.

Tyler’s work has appeared in outlets such as the Academy of Management Annals, the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Business Venturing, and Organization Science. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Administrative Science Quarterlythe Academy of Management Journal and the Academy of Management Review. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys running, racquet sports, and fleeting moments of quiet.

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  • Aparajita Agarwal and Tyler Wry (Working), Inert or Adaptive: How Microenterprises Navigate External Disruptions.

    Abstract: Microenterprises are crucial to the global economy, yet our understanding of strategic decision making in these firms remains less developed. This research takes an abductive approach to examine how microentrepreneurs respond to external disruptions, the performance implications of these strategies and factors predicting different response choices. Using multi-country data from the World Bank COV-ES surveys and two waves of proprietary field surveys with microentrepreneurs in India, we study these questions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We find substantial heterogeneity in the responses of these businesses. Strategic adaptation emerges as a common and effective approach, challenging prevailing narratives that consider microenterprises homogenous and strategically inert. Machine learning analysis shows that prior entrepreneurship experience, financial resources, search breadth, and technology use predict adaptation.

  • Tyler Wry and Eric Zhao (2018), Taking Tradeoffs Seriously: Examining the Contextually Contingent Relationship between Social Outreach Intensity and Financial Sustainability in Global Microfinance, Organization Science, Forthcoming ().

    Abstract: Studies have argued that hybrid organizations often face tradeoffs between the competing goals that they pursue. Yet we know little about the actual nature of such tradeoffs, nor how they might be shaped by different contextual factors. Focusing on social enterprise, we address these gaps by: (1) developing a framework that can be used to predict the compatibility of social outreach and financial sustainability for different types of social enterprises, and; (2) arguing that this relationship is moderated by the cultural roots of the issue that an enterprise addresses, the market conditions where it operates, and the quality of its management. We test our arguments in a study of 2037 microfinance organizations in 115 nations between 1995 and 2013. Results support our predictions and show that social-financial tradeoffs are accentuated when a social issue is related to deep-seated cultural problems like discrimination, and when an enterprise operates in a weak business environment. Intensive social outreach is sustainable, however, when cultural barriers to outreach are low and an enterprise operates in a supportive market context and is professionally managed. Our study thus suggests that social-financial tradeoffs are contingent, and that the promise of pursuing a social mission through commercial means varies widely across contexts.

  • Luis Ballesteros, Michael Useem, Tyler Wry (2017), Masters of disasters: An empirical analysis of how societies benefit from corporate disaster giving, Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming ().

    Abstract: Corporations are increasingly influential within societies worldwide, while the relative capacity of national governments to meet large social needs has waned. Consequentially, firms face social pressures to adopt responsibilities that have traditionally fallen to governments, aid agencies, and other types of organizations. There are questions, though, about whether this is beneficial for society. We study this in the context of disaster relief and recovery, in which companies account for a growing share of aid, as compared to traditional providers. Drawing on the dynamic capabilities literature, we argue that firms are more able than other types of organizations to sense areas of need following a disaster, seize response opportunities, and reconfigure resources for fast, effective relief efforts. As such, we predict that, while traditional aid providers remain important for disaster recovery, relief will arrive faster and nations will recover more fully when locally active firms account for a larger share of disaster aid. We test our predictions with a proprietary data set comprising information on every natural disaster and reported aid donation worldwide from 2003 to 2013. Using a novel, quasi-experimental technique known as the “synthetic control method,” our analysis shows that nations benefit greatly from corporate involvement when disaster strikes

  • Tyler Wry and Jeff York (2017), An Identity Based Approach to Social Enterprise, Academy of Management Review, 42 (), pp. 437-460.

    Abstract: Social enterprise has gained widespread acclaim as a tool for addressing social and environmental problems. Yet because social enterprises integrate social welfare and commercial logics, they face the challenge of pursuing frequently conflicting goals. Studies have begun to address how established social enterprises can manage these tensions, but we know little about how, why, and with what consequences social entrepreneurs mix competing logics as they create new organizations. To address this gap, we develop a theoretical model based in identity theory that helps to explain (1) how commercial and social welfare logics become relevant to entrepreneurship, (2) how different types of entrepreneurs perceive the tension between these logics, and (3) what implications this has for how entrepreneurs recognize and develop social enterprise opportunities. Our approach responds to calls from organizational and entrepreneurship scholars to extend existing frameworks of opportunity recognition and development to better account for social enterprise creation.

  • Eric Zhao and Tyler Wry (2016), Not all Inequality is Equal: Deconstructing the Societal Logic of Patriarchy to Understand Microfinance Lending to Women, Academy of Management Journal, 59 (), pp. 1994-2020.

    Abstract: Many social problems reflect sets of beliefs and practices—or “institutional logics”—that operate at the societal level and rationalize the marginalization of certain categories of people. Studies have examined the consequences this has for individuals, but have largely overlooked how organizations that address such issues are affected. To understand this, we apply and extend the institutional logics perspective. Our approach recognizes that practices within different sectors of a society may be shaped by different organizing principles. However, we suggest practices are also likely to reflect—to varying degrees—broader societal logics. Based on this, we argue that societal logics may work through multiple influence channels and affect organizations in non-obvious ways, depending on how, where, and with what intensity they manifest in society. We test our theory by analyzing how patriarchy, as a societal-level logic, affects outreach to women by microfinance organizations in 115 nations. We find that patriarchy supports practices in the family, religion, professions, and state that suppress this outreach. Yet, in some nations, patriarchy is differently evident across sectors. The resulting contrasts draw attention to women’s issues, motivate redress efforts, and catalyze resource flows to microfinance organizations. The greatest outreach to women is in these nations.

  • Adam Cobb, Tyler Wry, Eric Zhao (2016), Funding Financial Inclusion: Institutional Logics and the Contextual Contingency of Funding for Microfinance Organizations, Academy of Management Journal, 59 (6), pp. 2103-2131.

  • Tyler Wry, Michael Lounsbury, P.D. Jennings (2014), Hybrid vigor: Securing venture capital by spanning categories in nanotechnology, Academy of Management Journal.

  • Tyler Wry and J.P. Vergne (2014), Categorizing categorization research: Review, integration, and future directions, Journal of Management Studies, 50th Anniversary Issue.

  • Tyler Wry and Lounsbury, M. (2013), Contextualizing the categorical imperative: Category linkages, technology focus, and resource acquisition in nanotechnology entrepreneurship, Journal of Business Venturing.

  • Tyler Wry, Adam Cobb, Howard E. Aldrich (2013), More than a Metaphor: Assessing the Historical Legacy of Resource Dependence and its Contemporary Promise as a Theory of Environmental Complexity, Academy of Management Annals, 7 (1), pp. 439-486.


All Courses

  • BEPP2990 - Independent Study

  • MGMT2300 - Entrepreneurship

    How do you take a good idea and turn it into a successful venture? Whether you plan to become a founder, investor, mentor, partner, or early employee of a startup company, this course will take you through the entire journey of new venture creation and development. MGMT 230 is a project-based survey course designed to provide an overview of the entrepreneurial process and give you practical hands-on experience with new venture development. You and a team will have the chance to ideate, test, and develop a pitch for an early-stage startup by incorporating material from class lectures, simulations, labs, and class discussions. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of what it takes to create a successful startup, as well as proven techniques for identifying and testing new market opportunities, acquiring resources, bringing new products and services to market, scaling, and exiting new ventures.

  • MGMT2310 - Entrepreneurship Launchpad

    This advanced course on entrepreneurship focuses on taking your venture from a good idea to a fundable business. Participants need to come to the class with a validated idea that they are committed to pursuing commercially. The course is entirely oriented toward applying concepts and frameworks to advance your venture and provides practical guidance for testing the product or service, forming the entity, establishing partnerships, and engaging with investors. Students must have successfully completed MGMT 801 before enrolling (or obtain the permission of the instructor). Format: Highly interactive Requirements: Class participation, interim assignments.

  • MGMT4010 - Growing Social Impact

    This course seeks to address a gap at the core of contemporary entrepreneurship: despite a growing desire to pursue prosocial goals and affect positive change in the world, most founders have little understanding of how to measure, manage, and scale their impact. This creates the risk that financial goals will play an outsized role in decision-making, particularly as the venture scales, leading founders to drift away from social impact aims - or to pursue goals that fail to deliver on their intended impacts. MGMT 401 fulfils the Wharton capstone requirement with a hands-on approach to addressing these issues. Students will work hand-in-hand with the founding teams of pre-selected startups from the Wharton venture community to develop a strategy for measuring social impact, and ensuring fidelity to social goals as the venture goes to market and begins to scale. Projects will be group-based, and will ask students to integrate learnings on social enterprise, impact measurement, and impact investing, with prior coursework on entrepreneurship, social impact, business ethics, leadership, team dynamics, and venture finance. Students will leave the class with a deeper appreciation of the potential for business to be a force for good in the world, and the difficulties that this can pose during the founding and growth stages of a new business. The class will be of value to students who are interested in creating socially impactful businesses, as well as to those who want to work in the ecosystem that supports such ventures (e.g., consulting, or impact investing).

  • MGMT8010 - Entrepreneurship

    MGMT 801 is the foundation coures in the Entrepeurial Management program. The purpose of this course is to explore the many dimensions of new venture creation and growth. While most of the examples in class will be drawn from new venture formation, the principles also apply to entrepreneurship in corporate settings and to non-profit entrepreneurship. We will be concerned with content and process questions as well as with formulation and implementation issues that relate to conceptualizing, developing, and managing successful new ventures. The emphasis in this course is on applying and synthesizing concepts and techniques from functional areas of strategic management, finance, accounting, managerial economics, marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior in the context of new venture development. The class serves as both a stand alone class and as a preparatory course to those interested in writing and venture implementation (the subject of the semester-long course, MGMT 806). Format: Lectures and case discussions

  • MGMT8310 - Entrepreneurship Launchpad

    This advanced course on entrepreneurship focuses on taking your venture from a good idea to a fundable business. Participants need to come to the class with a validated idea that they are committed to pursuing commercially. The course is entirely oriented toward applying concepts and frameworks to advance your venture and provides practical guidance for testing the product or service, forming the entity, establishing partnerships, and engaging with investors. Students must have successfully completed MGMT 801 before enrolling (or obtain the permission of the instructor). Format: Highly interactive Requirements: Class participation, interim assignments.

  • MGMT8900 - Advanced Study-Ind

  • MGMT8930 - Advanced Study-Emgt

  • MGMT8970 - Global Modular Course A

    Special course arranged for Wharton MBA students, focused on global business, management and innovation.

  • MGMT8980 - Global Modular Course B

    removing WH 898 as erroneous crosslist.

  • MGMT9380 - Seminar in Social Entrep

    This half-semester course examines how social enterprise organizations emerge, attract resources, and affect society. The course will bridge micro and macro theoretical perspectives to provide insight into the unique challenges faced by social enterprises, while also showing how the study of such organizations can help to advance mainstream entrepreneurship research. Individual sessions will focus on defining social entrepreneurship, the tensions and tradeoffs that emerge in organizations that pursue social and financial goals, impact investing and other sources of finance, and the role of incubators/accelerators in supporting the development of these organizations. This is a seminar-based course with active discussion and analysis.

  • MGMT9700 - Research Methods in Mgmt

    Students taking the course will be introduced to the seminal readings on a given method, have a hands-on discussion regarding their application often using a paper and dataset of the faculty member leading the discussion. The goal of the course is to make participants more informed users and reviewers of a wide variety of methodological approaches to Management research including Ordinary Least Squares, Discrete Choice, Count Models, Panel Data, Dealing with Endogeneity, Survival/failure/event history and event studies, experiments, factor analysis and structural equation modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, networks, comparative qualitative methods, coding of non-quantitative data, unstructured text and big data simulations.

Awards and Honors

  • Responsible Research in Management: 2017 Inaugural IACMR Presidential Award, 2018
  • ONE / NBS research paper with implications for practice award, 2017 Description

    The Research Impact on Practice award recognizes a piece of contemporary, peer-reviewed research that has important implications for practice. The research may focus on any dimension of social or environmental sustainability. The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) co-sponsors this award with the Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division of the Academy of Management

  • Best Paper Award, 13th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference, 2016
  • Academy of Management Journal, Best Reviewer Award, 2016
  • Best published paper, Academy of Management Journal (finalist), 2015
  • Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award Winner (for innovative scholarship in management and organization theory), 2012
  • Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award, finalist, 2012
  • Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2 papers), 2012
  • Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2 papers), 2011
  • WAIB Award for increased gender awareness in international business research, finalist, 2011
  • Emerald IJGE & WAIB Emerging Scholar Award, finalist, 2011
  • Best International Paper Award, Academy of Management, OMT Division, 2011
  • Carolyn Dexter Award (best international paper), Academy of Management, 2011
  • Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (1 paper), 2010
  • Graduate Student Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 2008
  • Andrew Stuart Memorial Graduate Prize for Doctoral Research, 2008
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 2006
  • Walter H. Johns Graduate Fellowship, 2006
  • Queen Elizabeth II Doctoral Scholarship, 2006
  • Arbutus Award – Volunteer of the year, Big Brothers Big Sisters, 2003


In the News

Coronavirus Disaster: Why Firms Should Lead the Recovery

Firms can play a critical role in the recovery from natural disasters by leveraging their core competencies, say Wharton’s Michael Useem and Tyler Wry and Luis Ballesteros of George Washington University.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 3/3/2020
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Wharton Magazine

Growth vs. Profits: Uber’s Cash Burn Dilemma

On the eve of a possible IPO, and with a troubling bottom line, will the disruptive ride-hailing service become the next Amazon—or the next Groupon?

Wharton Magazine - 04/25/2017

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