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Kathryn J Aten

Associate Professor

Phone: (831) 656-2644


Kathryn Aten is an expert in organization analysis and information sciences. She draws on her expertise in alternative research methods including design research, open-ended surveys, behavior observation, focus groups, and interviews to help Navy leaders reduce technology acquisition and transition costs, design effective systems for manning and training, and develop resilient warfighters and organizations.

Her research and publications investigate how individuals and organizations adopt and transition technologies as well as how technology implementations influence work and communication. Her research is published in diverse academic journals including, the Journal of Management Inquiry, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and Journal of World Business and in technical reports and has been recognized for its impact on decision making by Navy and Marine leaders.

Kathryn holds a joint appointment with defense management and information sciences and teaches courses for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Kathryn teaches competitive strategy and change, strategic management of information technology, research design, and qualitative and applied research methods.
  • PhD - University of Oregon 2009
NPS Experience
  • 2017 - current: Associate Professor
  • 2010 - 2017: Assistant Professor
Other Experience
  • 2008 - 2010 University of Oregon - Applied Information Management
  • 1999 - 2001 Truckee Meadows Community College
  • 1991 - 2001 Design and technology organizations incl., Patagonia, Apple Computer, International Game Technology
Research Interests
Technology adoption and transition
Technology-mediated education
Information technology in work and organizations
Talent management of technical professionals
Teaching Interests
Strategic management of information technology
Competitive strategy and organizational change
Innovation adoption and technology adoption
Qualitative research methods
Design and action research

Boards, Memberships, & Certifications

Professional Memberships
  • 2021 Program Chair Elect, Western Casewriter's Association
  • 2019 - 2021 Executive Board Member-2 Year Representative, Western Academy of Management
  • 2017 Fellow, Society for Armed Forces and Society

Scholarly Work

  • Journal Articles
  • Aten, K. J, (2020). Virtual worlds affordances for organizations. Oxford research encyclopedia.
  • DiRenzo, M. S., Aten, K. J., & Rosikiewicz, B, (2018). Embeddedness and turnover intentions in extra roles: A mixed-methods analysis of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Career Development International.
  • Aten, K. J., DiRenzo, M. S., & Shatnawi, D, (2017). Gender and professional e-networks: Implications of gender heterophily on job search facilitation and outcomes. Computers in Human Behavior.
  • Dew, N., Aten, K. J., & Ferrer, G, (2017). How many admirals does it take to change a lightbulb? Organizational innovation, energy efficiency, and the U.S. Navy's battle over LED lighting. Energy Research and Social Science.
  • Aten, K. J., & Thomas, G. F, (2016). Crowdsourcing strategizing: Communication technology affordances and the communicative constitution of organizational strategy. International Journal of Business Communication.
  • Nardon, L., Aten, K. J., & Gulanowski, D, (2015). Expatriate adjustment in the digital age: The co-creation of online social support resources through blogging. International Journal of Intercultural Relations.
  • Nardon, L., & Aten, K. J, (2012). Valuing Virtual Worlds: The role of categorization in technology assessment. Journal of the Association of Information Systems.
  • Manuscripts
  • Aten, K. J., Helzer, E., & Felder, A, Pursuing parenthood in the US Navy: Female sailors' experience of fertility assistance technology.
  • Aten, K. J., Salem, A. M., & Helzer, E, Constructing leadership in on-line spaces: The Female Navy Officers Facebook group.
  • Technical Reports
  • Aten, K. J., & Salem, A. M, (2020). Managing tensions between individual participation and organizational control in online workplace communities.
  • Aten, K. J., & Salem, A. M, (2019). Talent management for Operations in the Information Environment.
  • Aten, K. J., DiRenzo, M. S., & Salem, A. M, (2018). Enablers and barriers to mobile learning technologies in the Navy.
  • Aten, K. J., & DiRenzo, M, (2014). Assessing the potential of virtual worlds for Navy training and education.
  • Aten, K. J., & Dillard, J, (2013). Defense acquisition and the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration Office: Ad hoc problem solving as a mechanism for adaptive change.
  • Written Cases with Instructional Material
  • Aten, K. J., & Salem, A. M, Honor, courage, and commitment online: Building connection and leadership in the Female Navy officers Facebook group.
  • Aten, K. J., Salem, A. M., & Whitt, D, Reducing energy use in the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Aten, K. J., & Salem, A. M, (2021). Problem identification: Designing solutions in the Marine Forces Reserves.
  • Oral Presentations
  • Aten, K. J., My Navy Analytic Brown Bag, "Managing tensions between participation and control in on-line spaces," N1. (March 4, 2021).
  • Aten, K. J., NPS Teaching Learning Commons, "Coaching and mentoring in technology rich environments: Generation from doubt," NPS. (March 2, 2021).
  • Aten, K. J., NPS Teaching Learning Commons, "Digital annotation: Using a light-board to engage distance students". (June 1, 2020).