Faculty Directory
Noshir Contractor

Jane S. and William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences and (by courtesy) Computer Science

Professor of Communication Studies

Professor of Management and Organizations


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech D241
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

Email Noshir Contractor


Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences


Master of Science in Machine Learning and Data Science Program

MMM Program

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PhD, Communication, University of Southern California, 1987

MA, Communication, University of Southern California, 1986

BTech Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (Chennai), 1983

Research Interests

Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. and William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management and Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University. He is also a Past President of the International Communication Association (ICA). Additionally, he is the host of a podcast series titled “Untangling the Web,” where he engages in conversations with thought leaders to explore how the Web is shaping society, and how society in turns is shaping the Web.

Professor Contractor has been at the forefront of three emerging interdisciplines: network science, computational social science and web science. He is investigating how social and knowledge networks form – and perform – in contexts including business, scientific communities, healthcare and space travel. His research has been funded continuously for 30 years by the U.S. National Science Foundation with additional funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, NASA, DARPA, Army Research Laboratory and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

His book Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Peter Monge) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association and the 2021 Fellows Book Award from the International Communication Association (ICA). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Network Science Society, and the International Communication Association (ICA). He also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association, the Lifetime Service Award from the Communication, Digital Technology, and Organization Division of the Academy of Management, and the Simmel Award from the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA). He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he received a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. 

Significant Recognition

  • Fellow, The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2019
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2019
  • Lifetime Service Award, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division, Academy of Management, 2019
  • Distinguished Speaker Award, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division, Academy of Management, 2019
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, 2018
  • Fellow, International Communication Association, 2015
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, National Communication Association, 2014
  • Outstanding Member Award, Organizational Communication Division, International Communication Association, 2000
  • Institute Gold Medal, in recognition of outstanding overall achievement during pursuit of Bachelor of Technology degree, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, 1983

Significant Professional Service

  • Co-organizer, Steering Committee, Networks 2021: A Joint Sunbelt and NetSci Conference, July 6-11, 2021
  • Editor for Communication, Management, and Computational Social Science, Network Science, 2012-present
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Communication, 2001-2003, 2005-2012, 2018-present
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 2018-present
  • Co-Editor, IEEE Computer 2018 special issue on Web Science, 2018
  • Conference Co-Chair of the 2nd and 4th International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2), 2016 & 2018
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 2013-2017
  • Editorial Board, Human Communication Research, 1992-1995, 1997-2004, 2010-2016
  • Editorial Board, The Review of Communication, 1999-2012
  • Conference Co-Chair, Network Science, NetSci 2012, June 18-22, 2012, Evanston, IL
  • Conference Co-Chair, ACM Web Science, WebSci 2012, June 22-24, 2012, Evanston, IL
  • Editorial Board, Communication Theory, 1997-1998, 2002-2005, 2010-2012
  • Editorial Board, Electronic Journal for Computer Mediated Communication, 1994-2009
  • Editorial Board, Small Group Research, 2008-2009
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 1996-1997, 2007

Selected Publications

  1. Schecter, A., Nohadani, O., Contractor, N. (2021). A Robust Inference Method for Decision Making in Networks. Management Information Systems Quarterly.
  2. Wagner, C., Strohmaier, M., Olteanu, A., Kiciman, E., Contractor, N. and Eliassi-Rad, T. (2021). Measuring algorithmically infused societies. Nature (2021). doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03666-1
  3. Lungeanu, A., McKnight, M., Negron, R., Munar, W., Christakis, N. A., and Contractor, N. S. (2021). Using Trellis software to enhance high-quality large-scale network data collection in the field. Social Networks, 66:171-184. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2021.02.007
  4. Birkett, M., Melville, J., Janulis, P., Phillips, G., Contractor, N., and Hogan, B. (2021). Network Canvas: Key decisions in the design of an interviewer-assisted network data collection software suite. Social Networks, 66:114-124. doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2021.02.003
  5. Niler, A. A., Mesmer-Magnus, J. R., Larson, L. E., Plummer, G., DeChurch, L. A., and Contractor, N. S. (2020). Conditioning team cognition: A meta-analysis. Organizational Psychology Review, 11(2):144-174. doi.org/10.1177/2041386620972112
  6. Lazer, D. M. J., Pentland, A., Watts, D. J., Aral, S., Athey, S., Contractor, N., Freelon, D., Gonzalez-Bailon, S., King, G., Margetts, H., Nelson, A., Salganik, M. J., Strohmaier, M., Vespignani, A., and Wagner, C. (2020). Computational social science: Obstacles and opportunities. Science, 369(6507), 1060–1062. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz8170
  7. Fu, J. S., Shumate, M., and Contractor, N. (2020). Organizational and individual innovation decisions in an interorganizational system: Social influence and decision-making authority. Journal of Communication, 70(4), 497-521. doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqaa018
  8. Xie, J., Bi, Y., Sha, Z., Wang, M., Fu, Y., Contractor, N., Gong, L. and Chen, W. (2020). Data-Driven Dynamic Network Modeling for Analyzing the Evolution of Product Competitions. Journal of Mechanical Design, 142(3): 031112. doi.org/10.1115/1.4045687
  9. Mell, J. N., DeChurch, L. A., Contractor, N., and Leenders, R. (2019). Identity asymmetries: An experimental investigation of social identity and information exchange in multiteam systems. Academy of Management Journal. doi: 10.5465/amj.2018.0325