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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Ph.D., Communication, University of Southern California, 1987

M. A., Communication, University of Southern California, 1986

B. Tech. 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 the President-Elect-Select of the International Communication Association (ICA).

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 25 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. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association and the Lifetime Service Award from the Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division of the Academy of Management. In 2018 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. 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. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz8170
    2. Mell, J. N., DeChurch, L., Contractor, N., and Leenders, R. (in press). Identity asymmetries: An experimental investigation of social identity and information exchange in multiteam systems. Academy of Management Journal.
    3. Mukherjee, S., Huang, Y., Neidhardt, J., Uzzi, B., Contractor, N., (2019). Prior shared success predicts victory in team competitions. Nature Human Behaviour, 3, 74-81.  
    4. Leonardi, P., and Contractor, N. S. (2018, Nov-Dec). Better People Analytics: Measure who they know, not just who they are. Harvard Business Review, 70–81.
    5. Lungeanu, A., Carter, S. R., DeChurch, L. A., and Contractor, N. S. (2018). How team interlock ecosystems shape the assembly of scientific teams: A hypergraph approach. Communication Methods and Measures, 12(2-3), 174-198.
    6. Schecter, A., Pilny, A., Leung, A., Poole, M. S., and Contractor, N. (2017). Step by step: Capturing the dynamics of work team process through relational event sequences. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2017, 1–19.
    7. Leenders, R., Contractor, N. S., and DeChurch, L. A. (2016). Once upon a time: Understanding team dynamics as relational event networks. Organizational Psychology Review, 6(1): 92-115.
    8. Carter, D. R., Asencio, R., Wax, A., DeChurch, L. A., and Contractor, N. S. (2015). Little teams, big data: Big data provides new opportunities for teams theory. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 8(4), 550-555. doi: 10.1017/iop.2015.82
    9. Sullivan, S. D., Lungeanu, A., DeChurch, L. A., and Contractor, N. S. (2015). Space, time, and the development of shared leadership networks in multiteam systems. Network Science, 1-32. doi:10.1017/nws.2015.7
    10. Contractor, N. S., and DeChurch, L. A. (2014). Integrating social networks and human social motives to achieve social influence at scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(Supplement 4), 13650–13657
    11. Lazer, D., Pentland, A., Adamic, L., Aral, S., Barabasi, A. L., Brewer, D., Christakis, N., Contractor, N., Fowler, J., Gutman, M., Jebara, T., King, G., Macy, M., Roy, D., Van Alstyne, M. (2009). Life in the network: The coming age of computational social science, Science 323 (5915), 721-723.
    12. Contractor, N., Wasserman, S., and Faust, K. (2006). Testing multi-theoretical multilevel hypotheses about organizational networks: An analytic framework and empirical example. Academy of Management Review, 31, 681-703.