Orla Stapleton

Assistant Professor of Development Studies

Orla  Stapleton

2139 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-8232

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Orla Stapleton

Assistant Professor of Development Studies


Organizational sociology, cultural sociology, small business in community, qualitative methods

At the Keough School

Orla Stapleton is assistant professor of development studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.



Orla Stapleton earned her PhD in sociology from Indiana University in 2022. She holds postgraduate degrees in humanities from New York University and in development studies from SOAS University of London, as well as an undergraduate degree in philosophy and history from University College Dublin. Prior to joining the Keough School, she held research positions in the Humanitarian Research Group at INSEAD and in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Stapleton is also an award-winning instructor and has published four pedagogical case studies with teaching notes at the European Case Clearing House.

Research and Publications

Stapleton’s main research interest overlaps social interaction, constructing social solidarity, and business in community. Her current focus is on the social meaning of alternative exchange practices among small business owners. A second strand of her research focuses on how academic ideas evolve to become “public ideas.” In particular, this research examines the role of the media in the creation and evolution of public ideas.

Stapleton’s research has been published in the American Sociological Review, the Journal of Operations Management, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her research won the 2020 Clifford Geertz Award for Best Article from the Culture Section of the American Sociological Association. She has also received best paper awards from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Midwest Sociological Society, and the North-Central Sociological Association.