Grad Students

Molly S. Jacobs

Contact Information

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I am a social psychologist with a focus on organizations and social movements. My current research agenda examines how conflict in non-profit and activist organizations shapes organizational goals and durability. In particular, my research seeks to understand overt and covert conflict in organizations and the effect it has on participants and organizations as a whole.

I have been pursuing this research agenda via two substantively different projects. First, my dissertation, "Infighting at the Fringe: How Fields Shape Conflict and Organizational Outcomes in Social Movements," explores the conditions under which conflict, and infighting specifically, leads to either organizational dissolution or adaptation in a social movement organization. Additionally, I show how infighting has the potential to increase mobilization and social movement emergence. Second, in an ethnographic study of an animal shelter, I examine the disruptive behavior of volunteers. This project explores why conflict is so common, why it is tolerated, and how it affects goal attainment.

Fields of Study

Social Movements, Organizations, Social Psychology, Comparative-Historical Sociology, Ethnography


Jacobs, M. S. (2017). Why can't you just follow the rules? Volunteer rule breaking and disruptive behavior. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 28(1), 26-43.

Available online:

Jacobs, Molly S. (2014). "Processing Papers: Collection Notes - How Do We Know What We Know?" in Making Invisible Histories Visible: A Resource Guide to the Collections of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives. McHugh, Kathleen A., Brenda Johnson-Grau, and Ben Raphael Sher, eds., p 46.

Jacobs, M. S., Ryba, N. L., & Zapf, P. A. (2008). Competence-related abilities and psychiatric symptoms: An analysis of the underlying structure and correlates of the MacCAT-CA and BPRS. Law and Human Behavior, 32, 64-77.

Grants and Awards

UCLA Graduate Division, Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2016-2017

UCLA Department of Sociology, Peter Kollock Graduate Teaching Award, 2011-2012

UCLA Department of Sociology, Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010-2011, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, Summer 2010

National Science Foundation, Honorable Mention, 2010

UCLA Department of Sociology Graduate Fellowship, 2008-2013

Conference Presentations

Jacobs, M. S. (2017) “Covertness as organizing strategy: The case of Mattachine.” Paper presented at San Diego State University Conference on Social Movements and Protest: Nonviolent Strategies and the State. San Diego, CA.

Jacobs, M. S. (2015). Academic Internships in the 21st Century: Fostering Civic, Disciplinary, and Professional Development. Panel presentation with Berenji, S., Goodhue, E., and Sanders, C. Continuums of Service. Long Beach, CA: April.

Jacobs, M.S. (2015). The Gap Within Humanity: Organizing as Women and Homosexuals in the 1950s and 1960s. Roundtable Session. Sociologists for Women in Society. Washington, D.C.: February.

Jacobs, M. S. (2012). Civic Professionalism: Internships in the Context of Social Service. Panel presentation with Camara, A., Goodhue, E., and Hayakwa, M. Continuums of Service. Seattle, WA: April.

Jacobs, M. S. (2011). Mobilizing grievances: Framing processes of the Mattachine Society, 1948-1952. Collective Behavior and Social Movements Roundtable Session. American Sociological Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

Jacobs, M. S., Moneier, A. J., Brown, M. J., & Groscup, J. L. (2008). Predictors of verdict change: The role of need for cognition and authoritarianism in jury deliberations. Poster presented at the American Psychology-Law Society Conference, Jacksonville, FL.

Jacobs, M. S. (2006). An analysis of competency to stand trial: Underlying constructs and psychiatric correlates. Paper presented at the John Jay College Forensic Psychology Graduate Research Conference, New York, NY. 

Jacobs, M. S. & Ryba, N. L. (2006). Psychiatric symptoms and symptom clusters correlated with competency to stand trial. Paper presented at the American Psychology-Law Society Conference, St. Petersburg, FL. 


Rebecca Jean Emigh; Edward Walker; Bill Roy.


Ph.D. Sociology, UCLA 2017

M.A. Sociology, UCLA 2010

M.A. Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2006

B.A. Sociology and Anthropology with Distinction and Departmental Honors, University of Wisconsin - Madison, December 2001