Elizabeth Pontikes

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Stanford Graduate School of Business

Research Expertise
Category strategy, market evolution, stigma in markets

Elizabeth Pontikes is associate professor of management at The University of California, Davis, which she joined in 2019. She was formerly on the faculty of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business as associate professor and was visiting associate professor at the Kellogg School of Management. She is associate editor at Management Science and senior editor at Strategy Science.

Pontikes studies market categorization, innovation, and technological change. She studies these topics with a “big data” approach using computational text analytics. Designing strategy for an entrepreneurial company requires carving out a market position for an innovative product. By understanding cognitive and sociological underpinnings of categories, firms can define a market category for strategic benefit. In another line of research, she studies stigma in markets. Her work has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, The American Sociological Review, Strategy Science, Sociological Science and Organization Science.

Pontikes serves on the Diversity Committee at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM), as chair from 2020-21. During this tenure, they implemented the first diversity learning experience for GSM faculty. She is co-founder of an anti-racism book club for faculty and has promoted a number of initiatives to deepen diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion.

Prior to academia, Pontikes developed sales strategies and competitive positioning at software start-ups. She is the former director of solution engineering at Coremetrics, Inc., in California (acquired by IBM), and former program manager at MicroStrategy, Inc. Her experiences in software start-ups inform her research.

Pontikes earned a bachelor of science degree magna cum laude in physics with distinction from Yale University, where she was the Saybrook College Banner Bearer and received the DeForest Pioneers Prize for achievement in Physics. She graduated with a Ph.D. in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2008, she received the Louis R. Pondy Award from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Management Theory division for the best paper based on a dissertation.

In her free time, Pontikes enjoys spending time with her husband and son, baking, practicing yoga, and running. She completed the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2005. She also enjoys reading historical non-fiction, especially about experiences and perspectives that help expand her perspective around diversity and inclusion.


  • William S. Fishman Faculty Scholar, University of Chicago Booth, 2015 ‚Äì 2017
  • Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow, University of Chicago Booth, 2012 ‚Äì 2013
  • Charles E. Merrill Faculty Scholar, University of Chicago Booth, 2010 ‚Äì 2012
  • William H. Newman Award for outstanding dissertation, Academy of Management, 2008 
  • Louis R. Pondy Award for best paper based on a dissertation, OMT division, 2008
  • DeForest Pioneers prize for achievement in physics, Yale University, 1998 
  • Saybrook College Banner Bearer, Yale University, 1998