Rodrigo Canales

Kelli Questrom Associate Professor in Management & Organizations Co-Faculty Director, Social Impact Program
  • Phone 617-353-9406
  • Office 564
    Questrom School of Business
    Rafik B. Hariri Building
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

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Rodrigo Canales does research at the intersection of organizational theory and institutional theory, with a special interest in the role of institutions for economic development. Rodrigo studies how individuals can purposefully change complex organizations or systems. Rodrigo’s work explores how individuals’ backgrounds, professional identities, and organizational positions affect how they relate to existing structures and the strategies they pursue to change them. His work contributes to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that allow institutions to operate and change. Rodrigo has done work in entrepreneurial finance and microfinance, as well as in the institutional implications of the Mexican war on drugs. His current research is divided in three streams. The first focuses on the structural determinants of the quality of startup employment. The second explores the conditions under which development policies and practices integrate rigorous evidence. The third, with generous support from the Merida Initiative, explores how to build effective, resilient, and trusted police organizations in Mexico.

Rodrigo is faculty director of Questrom’s Social Impact Program. Before, he was Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, where he taught the Innovator Perspective. He sits in the advisory board of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; he spent the 2014-2015 academic year advising the Mexican government on the US-Mexico bilateral relationship; and sits in the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy.

  • Canales, R., Bradbury, M., Sheldon, T. (In Press). "Evidence in Practice: How Structural and Programmatic ScaffoldsEnable Knowledge Transfer in International Development", Administrative Science Quarterly
  • Canales, R. (2024). Nurturing Community Vitality through Violence Reduction: An Organizational Change Approach."Justice Collaboratory: Community Vitality Notebook", Yale
  • Canales, R. (2024). "Innovative Violence Prevention Programs and Police Partnerships From Around the World", Global Law Enforcement and Health Association
  • Sorenson, O., Dahl, M., Canales, R., Burton, M. (2021). "Do Startup Employees Earn More in the Long Run?", Organization Science, 32 (3), 587-604
  • (2021). "Erin Metz McDonnell. Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States", Administrative Science Quarterly, 66 (4), NP29-NP32
  • Kim, M., Sudhir, K., Uetake, K., Canales, R. (2019). "When Salespeople Manage Customer Relationships: Multidimensional Incentives and Private Information", Journal of Marketing Research, 56 (5), 749-766
  • Canales, R., Sheldon, T., Grieves, T., Lehan, B. (2019). "Paying it Forward in International Development", Stanford Social Innovation Review, 17 (3), 33-39
  • Canales, R. (2016). "From Ideals to Institutions: Institutional Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Mexican Small Business Finance", Organization Science, 27 (6), 1548-1573
  • Canales, R., Greenberg, J. (2016). "A Matter of (Relational) Style: Loan Officer Consistency and Exchange Continuity in Microfinance", Management Science, 62 (4), 1202-1224
  • Canales, R. (2014). "Weaving Straw into Gold: Managing Organizational Tensions Between Standardization and Flexibility in Microfinance", Organization Science, 25 (1), 1-28
  • Canales, R., Cannon, C., Fabian, C., Fabricant, R., Kochi, E., Rabison, R. (2014). "DIY innovation: Creating an Innovation Capability within an Organization", Rotman Management Magazine, 2014 (Fall), 66-71
  • Canales, R. (2012). The stranger as friend: Loan officers and positive deviance in microfinance."Using a Positive Lens to Explore Social Change and Organizations", Routledge 443-473
  • Canales, R., Nanda, R. (2012). "A darker side to decentralized banks: Market power and credit rationing in SME lending", Journal of Financial Economics, 105 (2), 353-366
  • Canales, R. (2011). "Rule bending, sociological citizenship, and organizational contestation in microfinance", Regulation & Governance, 5 (1), 90-117
  • Canales, R., Massey, C., Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). "Promises Aren't Enough: Business Schools Need to Do a Better Job Teaching Students Values",
  • Canales, R., Nanda, R. (2009). Small and Medium Firm Lending in Mexico: Lessons and Current Issues."Mexico Competitiveness Report", World Economic Forum 63-70