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Adam Cobb

Associate Professor

Department:     Business, Government & Society

Research Areas:     Corporate Governance, Human Resource Management, Labor Markets

Adam Cobb is an associate professor of BGS at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He was previously an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and also taught at the University of Michigan.

In his research, Cobb examines the historical development and reconfiguration of the employment relationship and the implications this has for various labor market outcomes. This includes examinations of how corporate-financed welfare benefit plans have changed and the ways in which changes in corporate organizations affect levels of wage inequality in the U.S. Another focus of his research involves studying questions of corporate governance, particularly in how corporate governance structures and practices affect the welfare of various stakeholder groups.

He is affiliated with the Academy of Management, the American Sociological Association, and the Labor and Employment Relations Association. He serves as an associate editor at Organization Science and is on the editorial board at Administrative Science Quarterly.

Cobb has a Ph.D. in management and organizations from the University of Michigan, an MBA with a concentration in management from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in economics and business administration (double major) from Southwestern University in Georgetown.



EY McCombs Amplify Award for MBA Teaching


Practice Implications Best Paper Award, Academy of Management Review


CBA Foundation Research Excellence Award for Assistant Professors, University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


John T. Dunlop Outstanding Scholar Award, Labor and Employment Relations Association


Best Paper Award, Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability Annual Meeting


Best Article Award, Academy of Management Review


Making sense of (Mis)Matched Frames of Reference: A Dynamic Cognitive Theory of (In)Stability in HR Practices: A dialogue. By:  Adam Cobb. Industrial Relations. July 2022, 61(3): 319-323

Benton, Richard, J. Adam Cobb, Timothy Werner. 2022. “Firm partisan political positioning and perceptions of COVID-19-related risk.” Strategic Management Journal, 43(4): 697-723.

Cobb, J. Adam, JR Keller, and Samir Nurmohamed. 2022. “How do I compare? The effect of work-unit demographics on reactions to pay inequality.” ILR Review, 72(3): 523-551.

McDonnell, Mary-Hunter and J. Adam Cobb. 2020. “Take a stand or keep your seat: Independent director exit after social activist challenges.” Academy of Management Journal, 63(4): 1028-1053.

Ken-Hou Lin, Carolina Aragão, and J. Adam Cobb. 2020. Women, Minorities, and Non-union Workers Continue to Dominate Low-wage Markets, and Experience Job Insecurity and Limited Upward Mobility. PRC Research Brief 5(10).


Benton, Richard and J. Adam Cobb. 2019. “Eyes on the horizon? Fragmented elites and short-term focus of the American corporation.” American Journal of Sociology, 124(6): 1631-1684.  


Cobb, J. Adam. 2019. “Managing the conflicting interests of workers and shareholders: Evidence from pension assumption manipulations.” ILR Review, 72(3): 523-551. 

Cobb, J. Adam and Ken-Hou Lin. 2017. “Growing apart: The declining firm-size wage premium and its inequality consequences.” Organization Science, 28(3): 429-446.


Cobb, J. Adam and Flannery G. Stevens. 2017. “These unequal states: Corporate organization and income inequality within the United States.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 62(2): 304–340. 


Lavine, Marc, J. Adam Cobb, and Christopher Roussin. 2017. “When saying less is something new: Social movements and frame contraction processes.” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 22(3): 275-292.


Cobb, J. Adam, Tyler Wry, and Eric Y. Zhao. 2016. “Funding financial inclusion: Institutional logics and the contextual contingency of funding for microfinance organizations.” Academy of Management Journal, 59(6): 2103-2131.


Cobb, J. Adam. 2016. “How firms shape income inequality: Stakeholder power, executive decision-making, and the structuring of employment relationships.” Academy of Management Review, 41(2): 324-348.


Cobb, J. Adam. 2015. “Risky business: The decline of defined benefit pensions and firms’ shifting of retirement risk.” Organization Science, 26(5): 1332-1350.

Wry, Tyler, J. Adam Cobb, and Howard 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: 439-486.

Davis, Gerald F. and J. Adam Cobb 2010. “Corporations and economic inequality around the world: The paradox of hierarchy.” Research in Organizational Behavior, 30: 35-53.


Davis, Gerald F. and J. Adam Cobb 2010. “Resource dependence theory: Past and future.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 28: 21-42.