Faculty & Research

Johan Chu

Assistant Professor of Organizations and Strategy

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5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Johan Chu’s research focuses on understanding large-scale change and stasis. In one stream of research, he explores the factors leading to the durable dominance of companies, products, ideas, and people. This work not only suggests strategies for dominants and would-be dominants, but also sheds light on the causes of inequality and stratification in society. Other streams of research investigate: 1) how dominant actors can change institutions, 2) the changing role of elites in corporate governance and society, and 3) new sources of competitive advantage in the twenty-first century. For his empirical studies, Chu uses very large datasets, social network analysis, simulation, and computational text analysis.

Chu earned a B.S. in physics from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and a Ph.D. in management & organizations from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

In between Ph.D.s, Chu spent thirteen years in consulting, start-ups, and executive search. He consulted for clients in the United States, Korea, and China. He founded, grew, and sold an enterprise software platform venture, and was later the CEO for another venture. Chu’s final industry position was at the world's largest private executive search firm, where he was the Asia-Pacific Consumer Practice leader.


2015 - 2016 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
39001 Strategy and Structure: Markets and Organizations 2016 (Spring)
39600 Workshop in Organizations and Markets 2016 (Winter)

REVISION: Who Killed the Inner Circle? The End of the Era of the Corporate Interlock Network
Date Posted: Aug  05, 2012
Throughout the 20th century, the American board interlock network — in which companies are linked by shared board directors — exhibited a stable cohesiveness, characterized by short path lengths between companies and the existence of an “inner circle” of well-connected directors. This enduring cohesiveness of the interlock network was both the result of elite social cohesion and a key mechanism for maintaining this elite cohesion (e.g., Mills, 1956; Useem, 1984). The characteristics of t