SONIC Speaker Series presents: Gianluca Carnabuci

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Gianluca Carnabuci

Organizational Behavior, ESMT Berlin

Good For One But Bad For Most? How Intra-Organizational Networks Impact Innovative Performance At The Inventor And Firm Level

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Gianluca Carnabuci of ESMT Berlin. Dr. Carnabuci will speak on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at 10 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.



Extant organizational research suggests that R&D scientists tend to be more productive (i.e., they generate more impactful innovations) when they occupy a central position within their organization’s intra-organizational collaboration network. Does this imply that an organization’s overall innovative performance would increase if the organization encouraged its R&D scientists to pursue more central network positions? We address this question using a multi-level panel dataset describing the evolving intra-organizational networks of 140 semiconductor firms, as well as the individual network position of each of their R&D scientists. We proceed in three steps. First, we confirm that network centrality does enhance scientists’ innovative performance within our empirical sample, even after controlling for unobserved individual- and organizational-level differences. Second, we simulate how the overall intra-organizational network of an organization would change if it enacted two distinct norms of collaboration, each encouraging scientists to increase their network centrality. We find that norms of “diffuse” collaboration increase network cohesion, whereas “star-centric” ones increase network centralization. Third, we study how these network-level properties affect innovative performance among our semiconductor firms. We find that network cohesion enhances organizational-level innovative performance only under conditions of high knowledge diversity, while network centralization always reduces it. These findings show that scientists’ pursuit of network centrality may have opposite performance effects at the individual- and organizational-level. A counterintuitive normative implication is that, under quite broad conditions, organizations would enhance their innovative performance by discouraging (rather than encouraging) their R&D personnel from increasing their centrality within the intra-organizational network.


Gianluca Carnabuci is an associate professor (with tenure) of organizational behavior who joined ESMT Berlin in broad conditions, organizations would enhance their innovative performance b 2016. Previously he was an associate professor of organization and management at the University of Lugano and an assistant professor at Bocconi University. He holds a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Amsterdam.

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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Sadat Shami

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

N. Sadat Shami

Director, Center for Engagement and Social Analytics IBM

The Application of Social Analytics to Understand and Improve Organizational Outcomes

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome N. Sadat Shami of IBM. Dr. Shami will speak on Monday, February 26th, 2017 at 10 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.



The increased adoption of social media in the enterprise provides an opportunity for organizations to receive real-time feedback from employees on organizational issues. Enterprise social media provides a platform for employees to express their thoughts and opinions on organizational programs, policies, and strategies through unstructured text in status updates, blogs, online community forums etc. Such textual data can be mined to generate insights about the employee experience. Research has shown that organizations that take into consideration employee feedback in organizational decision-making are more productive, and have employees that are more engaged with the organization. In this talk, he will first describe the design and use of Social Pulse – a tool to make sense of large- scale social media text generated by employees of an organization while preserving privacy. He will then describe how social media text mined by Social Pulse, combined with an organization’s hierarchical network structure can be used in statistical models to predict outcomes of interest to an organization, focusing on the particular case of employee engagement, and how it spreads in an organization.

N. Sadat Shami leads Talent Development, Engagement and Social Analytics for IBM. He has responsibility for analytics, insights and strategy around leadership, learning, inclusion, employee engagement and IBMer social media. His team of researchers and practitioners focus on enabling better business decisions by applying AI techniques on large-scale social media, social network, and enterprise data. He has led several advanced analytics projects in the employee engagement and social space, showing linkage with various outcomes of interest to IBM. Sadat has a PhD in Information Science from Cornell University, has published over 20 articles in highly selective peer-reviewed conferences and journals, and has lived in five countries.

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SONIC Speaker Series presents: Johan Ugander

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Johan Ugander

Management Science & Engineering Stanford University

Ruffled Feathers: Trait inference beyond homophily

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Johan Ugander of Stanford University. Dr. Ugander will speak on Tuesday, February 6th, 2017 at 10 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.



The observation that individuals tend to be friends with people who are similar to themselves, commonly known as homophily, is a prominent and well-studied feature of social networks. While homophily describes a bias in attribute preferences for similar others, it gives limited attention to variability. In this work, we observe that attribute preferences can exhibit variation beyond what can be explained by models of homophily. We call this excess variation monophily to describe the presence of individuals with extreme preferences for a particular attribute possibly unrelated to their own attribute. We observe that monophily can induce a similarity among friends-of-friends on a network without requiring any similarity among friends. In order to independently simulate homophily and monophily in synthetic networks, we contribute a new model of social network structure that we call the overdispersed stochastic block model (oSBM), an extension of the classical stochastic block model. We use this model to demonstrate how homophily-based methods for predicting attributes on social networks based on friends, “the company you keep,” are fundamentally different from monophily-based methods based on friends- of-friends, “the company you’re kept in.” To illustrate the differences between homophily and monophily-based prediction we place particular focus on predicting gender, where homophily can be weak or nonexistent in practice. These findings offer an alternative perspective on network structure and attributes in general and prediction in particular, complicating the already difficult task of protecting privacy on social networks. This is joint work with Kristen Altenburger.

Johan Ugander is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Management Science & Engineering, within the School of Engineering. His research develops algorithmic and statistical frameworks for analyzing social networks, social systems, and other large-scale social data.

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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Esther Sackett – December 7, 2pm

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Esther Sackett

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Expertise Awareness in Multi-Organizational Collaboration: The Role of Goal Awareness

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Esther Sackett of the Northwestern University. Dr. Sackett will speak on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 2 PM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.



Multistakeholder alliances typically have dual purposes that are often in tension – 1) pooling knowledge and resources toward a collaborative goal, and 2) engaging in knowledge transfer by leveraging knowledge and resources for each individual organization’s benefit. However, research has also demonstrated that these dual purposes are also quite intertwined, as members’ sustained engagement in the alliance over time depends on the perceived value of participation in terms of meeting their own organization’s needs. Inherent in the structure of multistakeholder alliances and their dual purposes is an implicit assumption: that the distributed expertise in a multistakeholder alliance is available for the pursuit of both collaborative goals and knowledge transfer. However, each of these goals may actually require access to different sets of expertise. Thus, a potentially overlooked mechanism for overcoming the challenges of balancing the dual purposes of multistakeholder alliances may reside in the relationships between the goals being pursued and the mechanisms for accessing the expertise needed to address them. Building on the framework of transactive memory systems, I use a qualitative approach to explore the factors that contribute to the development of expertise awareness, goal awareness, and the relationship between them in a multistakeholder alliance in the healthcare sector.


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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Michael D. Siciliano – November 13, 10am

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Michael D. Siciliano

College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago

Global Policy and Local Networks
The contested resource framework for collaboration and science

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Michael D. Siciliano of the Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago. Prof. Siciliano speak on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-489. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.


How do institutional changes affect micro-level behaviors?  International agreements such as the Nagoya and Cartagena Protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are resulting in new policy institutions that regulate the global exchange and use of biological materials in research. These rules are shifting the locus of control over materials from individual researchers to institutions that represent stakeholder interests. Traditionally, material resource exchange occurs within social networks that link scientists with other scientists and with provider organizations. In this new context of contested resources, access to and exchange of biological materials are jointly determined by personal networks and the new authority structures that govern the exchange relationships within the networks.  Relying on a nationally representative sample of scientists in the United States, this talk explores how institutional controls on resource inputs affect collaboration structures and science production.


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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Christoph Riedl – October 23, 10am

The SONIC Speaker Series presents

Christoph Riedl

D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University

Quantifying Patterns of Success in Creative Careers

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Christoph Riedl of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Prof. Riedl will present a talk on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-489. Please contact Michael Schultz with any questions.


In most areas of human performance, the path to major accomplishments requires a steep learning curve, long practice and many trials. Athletes go through years of training and compete repeatedly before setting new records; musicians practice from an early age and perform in secondary venues before earning the spotlight. Yet, little is known about the quantitative patterns that lead to success in creative fields. In this talk we provide a quantitative framework to describe the evolution of success in artistic careers, and ask: Is the success of a particular artist predictable? Are there network measures that improve our understanding of success? We focus on trajectories followed by visual artists through a network of galleries and museums, and show that the prestige of institutions, quantified through network measures, fully determines an artist’s future success. Starting in prestigious venues increases the chance of exhibiting in more venues, appealing to a more international audience, and of being successful in the auction market.

Christoph Riedl is the Joseph G. Riesman Research assistant professor for Information Systems at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. He hold a joint appointment with the College of Computer & Information Science and is a core faculty at the Network Science Institute. He is a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University. He is recipient of a Young Investigator Award (YIP) from Army Research Office (ARO) for his work on social networks in collaborative decision-making. Before joining Northeastern University he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Business School and IQSS. He received a PhD in Information Systems from Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany in 2011, a MSc in Information Systems in 2007, and a BSc in Computer Science in 2006. His work has been funded by NSF and published in leading journals including Management Science, Information Systems Research, and Academy of Management Discoveries.

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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Ingmar Weber

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Ingmar Weber who will present a talk on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-459. Please contact SONIC Lab Manager Katya Bitkin with any questions or comments.

Demographics in Social Networks: Usage Differences, Content Spread, and Homophily



How do demographic attributes affect network structure and content spread? In this talk, I’ll present attempts to address this question using a demographically annotated data set for 350K Twitter users in New York. For each user, their gender, age and race has been inferred from their profile picture using Face++. I’ll start by  showing that population-level differences in hashtag usage are intuitive, such as African Americans being more likely to use #blacklivesmatter, women more likely to use #makeup, and young people more likely to use #growingupwithsiblings. Taking ideas previously studied in the context of web search, we then look at  which demographic groups are generally first – or last – to use new hashtags. Here we find that, e.g., new music-related hashtags tend to originate from African American users, whereas new baseball hashtags come from white men. Looking at the topic of “algorithmic bias”, we show that the “what’s trending” tends to favor the majority group, potentially creating hurdles for minority content to benefit from system-induced feedback. Finally, I’ll show results related to racial link asymmetries, potentially indicating latent discrimination.

The work presented is joint work with Jisun An at QCRI, and several members of the Social Dynamics Lab ( at Cornell University, including Michael Macy, George Berry, Minsu Park and Chris Cameron. The research varies in terms of doneness from “medium well” to “rare”. More information on past projects at


Ingmar Weber is a senior scientist in the Social Computing Group at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) in Doha. He uses large amounts of online data to address research questions of societal relevance related to (i) lifestyle diseases, (ii) societal fragmentation, and (iii) international migration. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles ( and his work is frequently featured in the popular press ( Since April 2016 he’s been selected as an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Eric Quintane

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Eric Quintane who will present a talk on Monday, December 5th, 2016 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. All are welcome to attend. To schedule a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Quintane please schedule a time HERE. Please contact SONIC Lab Manager Katya Bitkin with any questions or comments.



How do Brokers Broker?

Tertius Gaudens, Tertius Iungens, and the Temporality of Structural Holes


Organizational network research has demonstrated that multiple benefits accrue to people occupying brokerage positions. However, the extant literature offers scant evidence of the process postulated to drive such benefits –information brokerage– and therefore leaves unaddressed the question of brokers broker. We address this gap by examining the information-brokerage interactions in which actors engage. We argue that the information-brokerage strategies of brokers differ in three critical ways from those of actors embedded in denser network positions. First, brokers more often broker information via short-term interactions with colleagues outside their network of long-term relationships, a process we label “unembedded brokerage.” Second, when they engage in unembedded brokerage, brokers are more likely than are actors in dense network positions to intermediate the flow of information between the brokered parties, consistent with a tertius gaudens strategy. Conversely, and third, when they broker information via their network of long-term ties (embedded brokerage), brokers are more likely than are densely connected actors to facilitate a direct information exchange between the brokered parties, consistent with a tertius iungens strategy. Using a relational event model, we find support for our arguments in an empirical analysis of email communications among employees in a medium-sized, knowledge-intensive organization, as well as in a replication study. The theory and evidence we present advance a novel, temporal perspective on how brokers broker, which reconciles structural and process views of network brokerage. Our findings substantiate the notion of brokers as a dynamic force driving change in organizational networks, and they help to integrate within a unitary explanatory framework tertius iungens and tertius gaudens views of brokerage.


Eric Quintane is an associate professor of management at the School of Management, The University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne (Australia). His research interests include dynamics of organizational networks, temporality of social processes, creativity and innovation.

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SONIC Speaker Series Presents: Robert Ackland

SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Robert Ackland who will present his talk on Tuesday, April 10th, 2016 at 9:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 3-417. All are welcome to attend. To schedule a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Ackland please schedule a time HERE.  Join our Facebook Event HERE.

Please contact Eric Forbush with any questions or comments.

Frames and Fields on Twitter

Associate Professor School of Sociology Centre for Social Research & Methods ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
Associate Professor School of Sociology Centre for Social Research & Methods
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences


We characterize an online activist field as a social arena in which participants vie for the definition of the most urgent cause or risk issue. We ask the question: to what extent is it conceptually and empirical valid to regard protest activity on Twitter, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, as an online activist field? Network analysis is used to examine two core aspects of field theory: the behavior of incumbents vs new entrants in response to a new issue or frame, and the dynamics of field formation. This project extends earlier research concerning organizations involved in environmental social movements and online collective identity formation and contributes to emerging research on activism in the era of the “networked individual”.


Robert Ackland is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Sociology and the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University. He has degrees in economics from the University of Melbourne, Yale University and the ANU, where he gained his PhD on index number theory in the context of cross-country comparisons of income and inequality in 2001, and he has worked as an economist at the Australian Department of Immigration and the World Bank. Since 2002 Robert has been conducting quantitative research into online social and organizational networks, and his research has appeared in journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Social Networks, Computational Economics, Social Science Computer Review, and the Journal of Social Structure. He leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks Lab and he created the VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis, which has been publicly available since 2006 and is used by researchers worldwide. Robert established the Social Science of the Internet specialization in the ANU’s Master of Social Research in 2008, and his book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in 2013. Robert has been chief investigator on five Australian Research Council grants and in 2007, he was a UK National Centre for e-Social Science Visiting Fellow and James Martin Visiting Fellow based at the Oxford Internet Institute. In 2011, he was appointed to the Science Council of the Web Foundation’s Web Index project and he recently contributed a background paper to the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends.

More information can be found at Robert’s website:

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