Contractor gave keynote at Ahmedabad, India

Noshir was invited to give a keynote on “People Analytics: Using Digital Exhaust to Leverage Network Insights in the Workplace” at the International conference on “Network Science in Economics and Finance.”

More about the conference:


Contractor, N. (December 9, 2019). People Analytics: Using Digital Exhaust to Leverage Network Insights in the Workplace. Keynote address at the International conference on “Network Science in Economics and Finance”, Ahmedabad, India. 


Diego and Kyosuke presenting at Weds@NICO Seminar Series

Our graduate students, Diego and Kyosuke, are going to present their research this Weds, Dec 4th, 12:00-1:00pm, at Wednesdays@NICO Seminar Series: Lightning Talks with Northwestern Fellows and Scholars. Below please find their titles and abstracts.

More event details:

Presenter: Kyosuke Tanaka

Title: How dispositional and positional factors affect an individual’s ability to efficiently route messages in a network

Abstract: Milgram’s small-world experiment provided evidence for six degrees of separation, on average a chain of five contacts separated any two random people in the world. However, this was only true for those messages that reached the final destination. While, in theory, the small-world phenomenon is structurally common in social networks, empirical evidence shows that human navigation of small-world social networks is remarkably challenging. Messages often reach the intended destination via a longer path than expected, get enmeshed in loops, and/or often never reach it. This leads to painful consequences for organizations that require information routing to share (or retrieve) knowledge among their members. Extreme examples of these failures contributed to the loss of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Here, I present a study of an understudied type of error—network routing—and introduce network acuity to conceptualize and operationalize an individual’s ability to efficiently route messages. Using, 6-DoS (Six Degrees of Separation), a network routing task based on Milgram’s small-world experiment with 435 individuals organized into 25 networks, I explored two types of factors that impact an individual’s network acuity: positional factors (where you are in the network) and dispositional factors (who you are). Results show that (a) those in the core or brokerage position had high network acuity than did peripheral or non-bridge members, (b) neuroticism was positively associated with acuity, (c) conscientiousness was negatively associated with acuity. Further, individuals’ network positions impacted network acuity more than dispositional characteristics. The results of this experimental study illustrate not only the usefulness of the concept of network acuity to characterize network routing errors but also advance our understanding of factors that explain variance in individuals’ network acuity.

Presenter: Diego Alonso Gomez Zara
Title: A Network Approach to the Formation of Self-assembled Teams
Abstract: Which individuals in a network make the most appealing teammates? Which invitations are most likely to be accepted? And which are most likely to be rejected? This study explores the factors that are most likely to explain the selection, acceptance, and rejection of invitations in self-assembling teams. We conducted a field study with 780 participants using an online platform that enables people to form teams. Participants completed an initial survey assessing traits, relationships, and skills. Next, they searched for and invited others to join a team. Recipients could then accept, reject, or ignore invitations. Using Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs), we studied how traits and social networks influence teammate choices. Our results demonstrated that (a) agreeable leaders with high psychological collectivism send invitations most frequently, (b) previous collaborators, leaders, competent workers, females, and younger individuals receive the most invitations, and (c) rejections are concentrated in the hands of a few.

Noshir Contractor elected as 2019 AAAS Fellow

We are delighted to share that Noshir Contractor has been elected as 2019 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is recognized for intellectual leadership in the development of computational social science and web science and his contributions to network science theory and methodology. He will be honored on Feb 15 at the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Read more:

Jasmine and Carmen presents at NCA 2019

Our lab members, Jasmine and Carmen are going to present at NCA 2019 for a paper they wrote on how avatar gender affects female participant’s negotiation style and outcomes in an online environment. This work was based on their undergraduate research at Cornell University. The presentation will be Sunday 11/11, 11am, and the paper was awarded the Best Student Paper at the Organizational Communication Division!

Gómez-Zará presents at CSCW 2019

Diego Gómez-Zará, one of our Ph.D. students, will present with Alexa Harris their work “Joining Together Online: The Trajectory of CSCW Scholarship on Group Formation.” This paper consists of a systematic literature review of CSCW scholarship on group formation. Their presentation will be on November 12th, in Austin, Texas.

Harris, Alexa M., Diego Gómez-Zará, Leslie A. DeChurch, and Noshir S. Contractor. 2019. “Joining Together Online: The Trajectory of CSCW Scholarship on Group Formation.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3 (CSCW): 148.

Congrats, Jasmine and Carmen!

SONIC would like to congratulate Jasmine (1st year PhD student at MTS Program) and Carmen (Lab manager) on winning Best Student Paper in Group Communication Division at NCA 2019!

Their paper “Effects of Avatar Gender on Negotiation in a Virtual Environment” was written with another student, Cordelia, when they were all undergraduate students at Cornell University.

Details regarding their abstract and presentation can be found here:

Noshir Contractor shares insights with the National Intelligence Science and Technology Committee (NISTC)

On October 17, 2019, the National Academies hosted one of the meetings of the science and technology chiefs of the 17 national security intelligence agencies and associates, convened as the National Intelligence Science and Technology Committee (NISTC). The meeting gives the NISTC an opportunity to learn about National Academies’ capabilities and activities that may be relevant to Intelligence Community (IC) interests.

During that day, Noshir was invited to speak about and contributed his insights regarding Trust and AI. For details regarding the agenda, please see image below:

Noshir presents keynote at Connected Commons

Describing how organizations can mine their “digital exhaust” to address critical HR challenges, Noshir Contractor recently presented keynote “Understanding & Enabling The  Future of Work” at The Connected Commons’s Fall Summit. The Connected Commons is a consortium of diverse organizations co-managed by Rob Cross and i4cp.

For more details, please refer to the agenda:

SONIC at OCMC 2019: Highlights

SONIC had the pleasure to attend OCMC 2019 at University of Illinois. Below are a few highlights:

Left to Right: Noshir, Kyosuke, Yuanxin, Rustom, Diego
Diego presenting his research, “The Diversity Paradox”
Yuanxin presenting her research related to enterprise social media.
Kyosuke presented his research “The Origins of Network Routing Errors in Organizations”