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Nicole Woolsey Biggart

Research Professor and Dean Emerita, University of California, Davis

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. 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 is an expert in organizational theory and management of innovation. Her research interests include economic and organizational sociology, firm networks, industrial change and social bases of technology adoption. Author of seven books or book-length reports, she has also written more than 30 articles and book chapters, and numerous book reviews. She is a frequent presenter at international meetings.

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. She is an expert in the formation of business clusters.

Biggart has served on the editorial boards of of several professional journals as well as Comstock’s Business Magazine and on the board of Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance, a nonprofit supporting entrepreneurial programs, companies, and technology investment throughout the region. She is a member of the Business Development/ Entrepreneurship Action Team of Partnership for Prosperity, a diverse group of stakeholders that is building a business plan for the Sacramento region that leverages its unique strengths and market opportunities. 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 currently serves on the scientific advisory board for 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 M.A. in sociology from the University of California, Davis, and a B.A. in communication: writing from Simmons College.


  • 1981–2019
    Research Professor and Dean Emerita, University of California-Davis