Nicole Woolsey Biggart

Research Professor and Professor Emerita

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Chair, Social, Political and Economic Sciences section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Research Expertise
Economic and organizational sociology, firm networks, industrial change and social bases of technology adoption.

Course Taught 
Strategic Innovations in Energy Efficiency

Fast Facts

  • One of the School’s founding faculty members, and an alumna of UC Davis
  • Influential in shaping the School’s community, values and learning environment through her teaching and leadership

Nicole Woolsey Biggart joined the Graduate School of Management in 1981 as one of the School’s first faculty members. In June 2010 she assumed the Chevron Chair in Energy Efficiency, which directs the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center (now Institute). Biggart served as the school's dean from 2003 to 2009, and held the Jerome J. and Elsie Suran Chair in Technology Management from 2002 to 2010.

Biggart’s research interests include economic and organizational sociology, firm networks, industrial change and social bases of technology adoption.

In her research, Biggart studied a wide array of sectors, organizations and markets around the world, including research on the auto industries of South Korea, Taiwan, Spain and Argentina. She also studied the U.S. commercial building industry, Japanese management strategies in the U.S., management and organization in the Far East, organizational explanations for scandals in the White House, organizational change in the U.S. Post Office, the sociology of labor and leisure, and the direct sales market.

Biggart has served on the editorial boards of several professional journals as well as Comstock’s Business Magazine and on the board of Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance. Biggart represented UC Davis on the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. She recently completed six years on the scientific advisory board of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany.

She has held leadership positions in the Academy of Management, the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics and the American Sociological Association. Biggart has received the faculty pioneer award for sustainability in management education from the Aspen Institute, and the Sacramento Business Journal has honored her with the Women Who Mean Business Award.

Biggart earned a Ph.D. in economic sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She also has an Master of Arts (M.A.) in sociology from the University of California, Davis, and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in communication from Simmons College.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2012.
  • Keynote Speaker, National Science Foundation, Workshop on Engineering and Social Response to the Energy-Climate Nexus, "Innovating for Climate Change," Washington D.C., 2011.
  • Chevron Chair in Energy Efficiency, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, 2010-present.
  • Jerome J. and Elsie Suran Chair in Technology Management, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, 2002-10.
  • Faculty Pioneer Award, Aspen Institute for Business Education, 2008.
  • Women Who Mean Business Award, Sacramento Business Journal, 2008.
  • Keynote Speaker, Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), "Organization Studies Solves Global Warming? Extending Our Boundaries into Policy," Cardiff Business School, Wales, UK, 2007.
  • Best Paper of 2004, Academy of Management Review, “Systems of Exchange,” (with R. Delbridge), 2005.
  • Keynote Speaker, Economic Sociology at the Edge of the Third Millennium Conference, School of Economics and Sociology, Moscow, Russia, 2000.
  • Keynote Speaker, All-Texas Conference on Organizations, Kerrville, Tex., 2000.
  • Overseas Distinguished Visitor, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, England, 1998.