skip to navigation skip to content

Laura Claus

Laura Claus

PhD Candidate

BA, BBA (University of San Diego), MPhil (University of Cambridge)

Research topic

How Do You Speak for Others without Undermining Their Voice? Organising for Social Change in Emerging Countries

In her dissertation, Laura asks how organisations can enable social change without comprising the voice of those most affected by to-be-addressed inequalities? When organisations advocate for social change in developing countries, they often walk a fine line between being perceived to impose their institutional frameworks versus helping local approaches emerge from the grass roots. Through fieldwork in Indonesia, Nigeria, and Tanzania, Laura theorises the strategies and processes that allow organizations to advocate for social change on behalf of others - including child brides and abducted schoolgirls - without undermining their voices.


Laura is currently a PhD Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, sponsored by Professor Sarah Soule.

Real world impact

Laura Claus is a PhD candidate at Cambridge Judge Business School working on topics around social movements and social innovation. As part of her research, she has traveled countries including Tanzania, Indonesia, and recently Nigeria. In collaboration with UNICEF, her research examines ways in which organisations can work with social activists to drive social change, and on a more practical level, aims to enhance the voice of children in emerging countries across the globe. 

For instance, in Indonesia, she has worked on a UN consulting project against the practice of child marriage; in Nigeria, she worked with an activist group fighting the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Research interests

Institutional theory; institutional complexity; hybrid organising; social entrepreneurship; new organisational forms; social movements.

Laura Claus is a member of the Strategy & International Business subject group.

Publications & papers

Claus, L. (2014) 'Keeping it weird': how anchoring sustains hybrid organising from the ground. MPhil dissertation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Blog posts

Claus, L. (2014) "New legal structures for social enterprises." The Social Innovation Blog, 15 December 2014

Claus, L. (2015) "'From darkness into light': the mAcrocredit model." The Social Innovation Blog, 12 February 2015

Claus, L. (2015) "Modern-day slavery: a flourishing business at $90 for a human life." The Social Innovation Blog, 17 March 2015

Claus, L. (2016) "What 'impact' can also mean: 765 days of protest and resilience." The Social Innovation Blog, 24 May 2016

Conference presentations

Claus, L. (2015) "Sustaining social hybridity." In: Sustainability, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference, 30 April-1 May 2015, Denver, CO, USA.

Claus, L. and Ansari, S. (2015) "Keeping it weird: coping with institutional complexity as an ongoing accomplishment over time." In: Alberta Institutions Conference (4th), 12-14 June 2015, Banff, Canada.

Claus, L. and Ansari, S. (2015) "How organizational members cope with complexity: does navigating institutional pluralism entail cognitive bias?" In: EGOS Colloquium: Sub-theme 63: Antecedents and Consequences of Institutional Logics for Reasoning and Rationality, 1-4 July 2015, Athens, Greece.

Claus, L. and Ansari, S. (2015) "'Keeping it weird': how anchoring sustains hybrid organizing from the ground." In: AOM Annual Meeting: OMT Division, 7-11 August 2015, Vancouver, Canada.

Claus, L. and Tracey, P. (2016) "Events as catalysts for change in culturally sensitive fields: the case of child marriage in Indonesia." In: COSI (Community of Social Innovation) Scholars Group Annual Workshop, 8-9 April 2016, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Claus, L. and Kroezen, J. (2016) "How do institutional paradoxes evolve? The gender equality paradox in professional tennis." In: International Process Symposium (8th), Theme-focused Track: "Dualities, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizational Life", 16-18 June 2016, Corfu, Greece.

Claus, L. and Kroezen, J. (2016) "The gender equality paradox in professional sports." In: EGOS Colloquium: Sub-Theme 35: Paradox Theory and Research: Constituting Tensions, Power, and Discourse, 7-9 July 2016, Naples, Italy.

Claus, L. and Kroezen, J. (2016) "How do institutional paradoxes evolve? the gender equality paradox in professional tennis." In: AOM Annual Meeting: ODC Division, 5-9 August 2016, Anaheim, CA, USA.

Claus, L., Greenwood, R. and Mgoo, J. (2017) "Tales about Mzungus: philantrocapitalism in rural Tanzania." In: PROS Conference, 22-24 June 2017, Kos, Greece.

Claus, L. and Block, E. (2017) "Voices for the voiceless: how multiple stakeholders generate social movements to advocate on behalf of others." In: EGOS Colloquium, 6-8 July 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Claus, L. (2017) "Hakuna matata or when cultures collide: social entrepreneurship in rural Africa." In: Best International Paper Award & Nomination for the Academy-wide 2017 Carolyn B. Dexter Award, AOM Annual Meeting: OMT Division, 4-8 August 2017, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Conference workshops 

Oikos Young Scholars Social Entrepreneurship Academy, 19-22 January 2015, Weggis & Zurich, Switzerland.

New Institutionalism in Organization Theory Workshop, 27-28 March 2015, Vienna, Austria.

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal's Professional Development Workshop: Transforming Research into Highly Impactful Manuscripts, 28-30 April 2015, Denver, CO, USA.

Paradoxes in Corporate Sustainability: Managing Tensions between Social, Economic, and Environmental Issues (at AOM), 6 August 2015, Vancouver, Canada.

Annual University of Edinburgh Business School Paper Development Workshop on Organizational and Institutional Change (3rd), 7 March 2016, Edinburgh, UK.

European Theory Development Workshop (ETDW), 30 June - 1 July 2016, Helsinki, Finland.

SCANCOR PhD Workshop on Institutional Analysis (14th), 29 August - 2 September 2016, Stockholm, Sweden.

Invited speaker engagements

Presenter at "Social Innovation", 31 January 2015, Catalyst Conference Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Panel Speaker at "Merging Two Worlds: The Future of Social Innovation", 4 December 2015, Cass Business School, London, UK.

Enterprise in Africa

Local context matters for entrepreneurship in developing countries where Western ideas of profit may not fit the ‘collectivist’ culture, says article by …

Read more

Social innovation, over time

Community activists tend to seek urgent solutions, but a new study from the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation emphasises how patience is …

Read more

Two top awards for social enterprise paper

Laura Claus, PhD candidate at Cambridge Judge, wins OMT Best International Paper and the prestigious All-Academy Carolyn Dexter Award at annual meeting …

Read more

Research recognition

Cambridge Judge PhDs nominated for prestigious awards for their research at top management conferences. Two PhD candidates at the School have been …

Read more

‘Hybrid’ honours

Awards for PhD student Laura Claus for studies on ‘hybridity’. Laura Claus, a PhD candidate at Cambridge Judge Business School, recently was …

Read more

Contact details

Laura Claus
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG

Year of entry