Associate Professor of Sociology. Shepherd teaches classes in organizations, culture, and how institutions attempt to change individual and group behavior. She studies how social networks, social norms and other group processes, culture, and organizations shape behavior, and facilitate or impede social change more broadly. Shepherd uses a wide range of methods including network analysis, survey and field-based experiments, digital and computational tools, interviews, and archival research. Her work is currently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and WorkRise.
Hana Shepherd's work covers three areas.
- Social Networks, Group Processes, and Group Culture
Shepherd’s research examines how people perceive the social norms operating in their social groups, the effects of those perceptions on behavior, and how norm perceptions are shaped by social networks. She is interested in social norms as a central element of culture as they shape larger patterns of behavior in groups. You can learn more about and access the data set that she co-designed and uses as part of this work here. Her current work in this area examines the formation and effects of network ties among low-wage workers, sources of perceptions of norms regarding racism, and how digital tools can be used to build supportive online communities.
- Organizational Practices: Inequality and Social Transformation
Given the importance of organizations in distributing resources and opportunities, Shepherd examines how organizational practices amplify or diminish inequality as a way of better understanding non-individual sources of the reproduction of inequality. Her current work focuses on discipline systems and policy implementation in schools; employer practices in retail work; and how government enforces minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. In this final area, Shepherd is working on a series of papers and a book manuscript that examines how city agencies interpret and enforce local employment laws, and the implications of those practices for standards and protections at work (with Janice Fine, SMLR).
- Cognitive and Social Psychological Accounts of Culture
Shepherd uses tools from social and cognitive psychology, survey experiments, and other analytical methods to investigate the processes of culture and cognition, in particular how we form shared interpretations of the social world, develop shared memories and emotions, and learn about the expectations and behaviors of others. She has a particular interest in the use and interpretation of implicit cognition measures as part of understanding the transmission of culture.