Chris Yenkey joined Chicago Booth in 2011 as Assistant Professor of Organizations and Strategy. Professor Yenkey’s primary research interest is in extending sociological theories of social diversity, segregation, and inter-group trust into the analysis of market development. This line of work is exemplified by his work on multiple aspects of investor participation in Kenya’s frontier stock market, the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Here, he analyzes how ethnic group boundaries influence the transmission of market information through a diverse society and how coethnicity paradoxically increases investors’ vulnerability to fraud without reducing their trust in the market. The causes and consequences of fraud are the focus of an additional line of research, where he studies the social influences that lead actors to engage in corrupt practices as well as how organizations respond to corrupt acts.
Professor Yenkey’s dissertation research on the social foundations of market construction in East Africa received several awards in 2011, including the William H. Newman Best Dissertation Paper Award from the Academy of Management, the Louis R. Pondy Best Paper Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the AOM, and the Ronald S. Burt Outstanding Paper Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Economic Sociology.
While earning his PhD in Sociology at Cornell University, Yenkey served as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Economic Affairs in Nairobi, Kenya. More recently, he was Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society at Cornell University from 2010-11. Prior to his graduate studies, Yenkey received a BA in Economics from the University of Texas-Austin in 2001 and served as a Research Associate in the Department of Economic Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 2001-03.
When he’s not studying the social construction of markets, Chris prefers to be with his family, exercising outside, or some combination of the two.
2014 - 2015 Course Schedule
||Workshop in Organizations and Markets
Yenkey, Christopher B. Forthcoming. "Mobilizing a Market: Ethnic Segmentation and Investor Recruitment into Kenya's Nascent Stock Market." Administrative Science Quarterly.
This paper studies how actors from diverse and competing social groups can come to identify as members of a common market rather than agents of their discrete social group. The goals of the paper are to identify the mechanisms driving social segmentation in a nascent market and strategies for integrating disparate groups. The empirical context is the recruitment of domestic investors into Kenya’s nascent stock market, a setting characterized by weak formal institutions and high levels of inter-ethnic distrust. Rather than exhibit a blanket preference for homophilous peers, potential investors increasingly attend to prior performance experiences of coethnics where local exposure to corrupt financial organizations is higher and where the market is increasingly identified with distrusted political rivals. Inter-ethnic residential and religious integration moderate this pattern of distrust, but results suggest that the most effective strategy to achieve inter-ethnic integration is through the use of national rather than ethnic language advertising campaigns to reframe the market as a common social identity. Implications of these findings for organization theory, economic development, and the sociological study of markets are discussed.
With Palmer, David. In press. "Drugs, Sweat, and Gears: An Organizational Analysis of Performance Enhancing Drug Use in the 2010 Tour de France," Social Forces.
This paper seeks a more comprehensive explanation of wrongdoing in organizations by theorizing two underexplored causes of wrongdoing related to an organizational participant's embeddedness in formal organizational structures and informal peer relationships: the criticality of a person's role in their organization's division of labor, and their social ties to deviant peers within their organization and industry who vary with respect to their experience with social control agents. We investigate how these factors influenced wrongdoing in the context of professional cyclists' use of banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in advance of the 2010 Tour de France. This empirical setting provides two advantages: it permits evaluation of a wider range of potential determinants of wrongdoing than is conventionally possible, and it allows for the use of a measure of wrongdoing that is not subject to the type of bias that plagues most previously used indicators. We find substantial support for our prediction that actors who perform critical organizational roles are more likely to engage in wrongdoing. Further, we find that while undifferentiated social ties to known wrongdoers did not increase the likelihood of wrongdoing, ties to unpunished offenders increased the probability of wrongdoing and ties to severely punished offenders decreased it. These effects were robust to consideration of other known causes of wrongdoing in organizations: weak governance regimes and permissive cultural contexts, performance strain, and individual propensities to engage in wrongdoing.
For a listing of research publications please visit
’s university library listing