Elizabeth Gorman

Associate Professor of Sociology

University of Virginia Sociology Department
Randall 113
P.O. Box 400766
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Office Hours:
Professor Gorman's scholarly interests revolve around two central questions.  First, how do people find their way through the landscape of work and career to the positions they attain?  What individual and contextual factors influence the opportunities available to them and their success in pursuing those opportunities?  In addressing this question, she has examined the impact of gender and race on hiring, promotion, and work effort, as well as the ways that organizational practices shape opportunities and rewards. 

Second, how do occupations and organizations influence the well-being of the societies around them?  In this area, Professor Gorman's interests focus especially on professional and expert occupations, whose members wield enormous influence on national and global economies.  How is that influence limited and regulated, and what explains the different approaches taken by different occupations and countries? 

Professor Gorman's research has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Work and Occupations, Gender and Society, Law and Society Review, Journal of Professions and Organization, Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, and Journal of Marriage and the Family.  She has also published chapters in several edited volumes and annuals, including Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and co-edited a special issue of Work and Occupations on “Transformations in Professional and Expert Work: Broadening Horizons and Bridging Divides.” 

Professor Gorman holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.  She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on work, professions, workplace gender and racial inequality, organizations, and quantitative methods.

Selected Publications


Gorman, Elizabeth H. 2015. “Getting ahead in professional organizations:individual qualities, socioeconomic background and organizational context.” Journal of Professions and Organization, 2015, 0, 1–26

Gorman, Elizabeth H. 2014. “Professional Self-Regulation in North America: The Cases of Law and Accounting.” Sociology Compass 8: 491-508.

Fiona M. Kay and Elizabeth H. Gorman.  2012.  "Developmental Practices, Organizational Culture, and Minority Representation in Organizational Leadership: The Case of Partners in Large U.S. Law Firms."  The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 639: 91-113.

Gorman, Elizabeth H. and Rebecca L. Sandefur.  2011. “ ‘Golden Age,’ Quiescence, and Revival: How the Sociology of Professions Became the Study of Knowledge-Based Work.”  Work and Occupations 38: 275-302. 

Elizabeth H. Gorman and Fiona Kay. 2010. "Racial and Ethnic Minority Representation in Large U.S. Law Firms." Special Issue: Law Firms, Legal Culture, and Legal Practice, Studies in Law Politics, and Society, Vol 52, 211-238.

Julie A. Kmec and Elizabeth H. Gorman. "Gender and Discretionary Work Effort: Evidence From the United States and Britain." Work and Occupations 2010; 37; 3.

Elizabeth H. Gorman and Julie A. Kmec. "Hierarchical Rank and Women’s Organizational Mobility: Glass Ceilings in Corporate Law Firms." American Journal of Sociology, Volume 114 Number 5 (March 2009): 1428–74.

Fiona Kay and Elizabeth H. Gorman. 2008. "Women in the Legal Profession." Annual Review of Law and Social Science 4: 299-332.

"We (Have To) Try Harder: Gender and Required Work Effort in Britain and the United States." Gender Society 2007; 21; 828-856. (with Julie A. Kmec)

“Work Uncertainty and the Promotion of Professional Women: The case of Law Firm Partnership .” Social Forces  85 (2): 865-890.   (December 2006)

“Gender Stereotypes, Same-Gender Preferences, and Organizational Variation in the Hiring of Women: Evidence from Law Firms.”  American Sociological Review 70:702-728.  (August 2005)