About

Biography

Ezra Zuckerman Sivan is Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning and the Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. He is also cofounder of MIT Sloan's PhD Program in Economic Sociology.

Zuckerman Sivan is an economic sociologist whose research focuses on showing how an understanding of fundamental social processes is important for shedding light on key issues in business and management, as well as how an appreciation for the dynamics of business and management inform our understanding of fundamental social processes.  He is perhaps best known for demonstrating the importance of categorical structures in shaping valuation in various markets.  

Zuckerman Sivan's master's and executive level teaching centers on competitive and technology strategy, and he teaches two doctoral courses, "Sociology of Strategy" and "Identity and Action."

He holds a BA in political science from Columbia University as well as an MA and a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.

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Story of My Name

The short version of the story of my name is as follows.  My birth certificate gives my name as ”Ezra Wyatt Zuckerman.”  This is also the name (well, with the middle initial) with which I began my career and under which I continue to publish. (Note though that at 8 days old, I was also given a Jewish name at my bris/circumcision ceremony-- עזרא מלך בן אברהם זלמן or “Ezra Melech son of Avraham Zalman” and that is still my name for Jewish ritual purposes.  This common Jewish practice of having a “Jewish name” and a “secular name” has interesting implications for naming fashion; see here). 

In 1996, shortly before my wife Lisa gave birth to our first child, we added the name "Sivan" to our existing last names (hers was Wasserman) so that we would have a common family name (“Sivan” is the only last name held by the four children with whom we have been blessed—Jack, Nina, Jesse, and Libby).  The Chicago judge who issued the name change wondered why we didn’t do this when we first got married; you would have thought that he would have just enjoyed the break from the dreary probate cases he was presiding over.

Over the years, we have run into a few other families that have adopted similar approaches to choosing a family name (not that we expected it would become fashionable).  Insofar as it does not fit easily into conventional practice, it can lead to some difficulty, but none that cannot be managed pretty easily.  It also has some advantages: it can be a nice opener for conversation in our (hopefully) multicultural, tolerant age, and it is a great way to gain insight into the foundations of identity—a topic that greatly interests me.

Of course, I am sometimes called by other names, which are unprintable here.   Most of the time, this is not done to my face, and so I can remain blissfully unaware of it.  (See here for some thoughts relating to this issue).

Academic Appointments

  • 7/2009 - Present - MIT Sloan School of Management Professor of Strategic Management 
  • 7/2002 - 6/2009 - MIT Sloan School of Management Associate Professor of Strategic Management 
  • 9/2001 - 6/2002 - MIT Sloan School of Management Visiting Associate Professor of Strategic Management 
  • 9/2001 - 6/2002 - Stanford University Associate Professor of Strategic Management in the Graduate School of Business; Associate Professor (by courtesy) in the Department of Sociology (on leave for 2001-2002 academic year) 
  • 9/1997 - 8/2001- Stanford University Assistant Professor of Strategic Management in the Graduate School of Business; Assistant Professor (by courtesy) in the Department of Sociology