Faculty Directory
Noshir Contractor

Jane & William White Professor of Behavioral Sciences


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech D241
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

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Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences


Master of Science in Analytics Program

MMM Program

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Research Interests

Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the School of Engineering, School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USA. He is the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University.

He is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities. Specifically, his research team is developing and testing theories and methods of network science to map, understand and enable more effective networks in a wide variety of contexts including communities of practice in business, science and engineering communities, disaster response teams, public health networks, digital media and learning networks, and in virtual worlds. His research program has been funded continuously for the past 18 years by major grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation with additional funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),  Air Force Research Lab, Army Research Institute, Army Research Laboratory, Army Research Office, the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Professor Contractor has published or presented over 250 research papers dealing with communicating and organizing. His book titled Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Professor Peter Monge and published by Oxford University Press in English and published by Renmin University Press in simplified Chinese in 2010) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association. He is a lead developer of MyDream Team - a platform to assemble teams, 6-DoS (Six Degrees of Separation) - a network exercise to help participants understand and enable their network acuity, as well as  RAD (Relational Analytics Dashboard) - a simulation exercise to help participants leverage network analytics to make key organizational decisions. 

Professor Contractor has been elected by a group of his peers to receive the National Communication Association 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award.  This award recognizes a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the International Communication Association.  His papers have received Top Paper awards from the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. In 2000 he was awarded the Outstanding Member Award by the Organizational Communication Division of the International Communication Association. He is the editor for the journal Network Science in the areas of communication, computational social science and management. He is also on the advisory board for the Journal of Web Science  He has served on the editorial boards of Human Communication Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, and Organization Science.

He has consulted with Procter & Gamble, Livestrong Foundation, Boeing, Charles Schwab, Fiat, Illinois Power, Merrill Lynch, Paramount Pictures, and Vodafone. He developed one of the first graduate and undergraduate “virtual” courses on "Emerging Technologies in the Workplace" that were webcast and cablecast by Jones International University. Internationally, Professor Contractor has also conducted workshops on social network analysis and the management of knowledge networks in China, Finland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan,  Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Professor Contractor was the co-founder and Chairman of Syndio (synd.io) which offers organizations products and services based on network analytics. Syndio was acquired in 2016 by Edge Analytics. His other appointments include Trustee of  the Web Science Trust based in the UK, and an honorary professor at the School of Management at Fudan University in Shanghai.  Professor Contractor holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (Chennai) where he was awarded a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2018. He was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for twenty years prior to joining Northwestern in 2007.

Selected Publications

  • Alina Ionica Lungeanu, Dorothy R. Carter, Leslie Ann DeChurch, Noshir Contractor, “How Team Interlock Ecosystems Shape the Assembly of Scientific Teams”, Communication Methods and Measures, (2018)
  • Zhenghui Sha, Yun Huang, Jiawei Sophia Fu, Mingxian Wang, Yan Fu, Noshir Contractor, Wei Chen, “A Network-Based Approach to Modeling and Predicting Product Coconsideration Relations”, Complexity, (2018)
  • James Hendler, Wendy Hall, Noshir Contractor, “Web science”, Computer, (2018)
  • Jeremy Foote, Noshir Contractor, “The behavior and network position of peer production founders”, Transforming Digital Worlds - 13th International Conference, iConference 2018, Proceedings, (2018)
  • Noshir Contractor, Eric Forbush, “Networks”, International Encyclopedias of Communication, (2017)
  • Fahimeh Ghasemian, Kamran Zamanifar, Nasser Ghasem-Aghaee, Noshir Contractor, “Erratum to”, Scientometrics, (2017)
  • Wynne E. Norton, Alina Lungeanu, David A. Chambers, Noshir Contractor, “Mapping the growing discipline of dissemination and implementation science in health”, Scientometrics, (2017)
  • Amy Wax, Leslie Ann DeChurch, Noshir Contractor, “Self-Organizing Into Winning Teams”, Small Group Research, (2017)