Sandra Portocarrero is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Management Division at Columbia Business School. She is an organizational ethnographer and qualitative field researcher who studies the dynamics of diversity, equity, and inclusion in relation to the maintenance of exclusion and inequality. Sandra examines the organizational lives of workers and how organizations continue to exclude people from minoritized racial groups and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds despite their intentions to build an inclusive climate.
One stream of her research focuses on how people perceive the race and ethnicity of workers as a type of credential. In a manuscript under review, she examines how a form of what she calls racialized expertise develops and is sustained through racialized organizational processes. In a forthcoming paper, “But the Fellows Are Simply Diversity Hires! How Organizational Contexts Influence Status Beliefs,” Sandra examines how recipients of a prestigious U.S. Department of State Fellowship unequally experience holding this accolade because they are held to racialized evaluations of status-worthiness and competence among peers. In a working project, Sandra shows how organizations establish what she calls the ideal race-typed worker image and analyzes how workers of color navigate organizational expectations to behave as a model minority.
Another stream of her research examines organizational status maintenance and how elite organizations can undermine diversity and social inclusion because of their concern to maintain their high status and prestige. At Columbia Business School, Sandra is developing a project where she examines the ventures of Latina undocumented necessity entrepreneurs in New York. She is working on this project with Professor Dan Wang.