Noshir Contractor Presents at Midwest Private Equity Conference

Socnets 101: The Interconnection of People Through a Network
Recent advances in digital technologies invite consideration of organizing as a process that which is accomplished by flexible, adaptive, and ad hoc networks. A central challenge, spurred by these developments is that the nature of how we create, maintain and dissolve our knowledge networks has changed radically. Using examples from his research in a wide range of activities such as disaster response, Communities of Practice at Procter & Gamble, public health and massively multiplayer online games, Noshir Contractor will present a framework that can be used to help us leverage – Discover, Diagnose, and Design – our 21st century knowledge networks.

“The Midwest Private Equity Conference typically brings together over 150 middle market practitioners to facilitate deal flow. Along with being a forum for networking, the Conference includes updates on regulatory and legislative issues impacting middle market funds and panel discussions on how to make your funds function more effectively with advice on fundraising, management of funds, and deal trends…”

For more information: http://www.nasbic.org/page/MWPEC

SONIC Fudan Collaboration

The Chinese Marketing Research Center at Fudan University and the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Laboratory at Northwestern University have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to promote academic collaboration in research and education.  The two research centers will work with Shanda Game to expand the Virtual Worlds Exploratorium (VWE) research to many Chinese online games.  Professor Noshir Contractor also received the title of Honorary Professor from Fudan University on September 13th, 2010.

Discover Text Software Training: Unlock the Power of Text

Friday, February 4, 9-1Stuart Shulman1 a.m.

Location: Frances Searle Building, Room 1.459 (SONIC Conference Room)

Discover Text Software Training: Unlock the Power of Text: A PhD-holding Political Scientist, Stu knows the importance of easy to use, powerful, text analytic software. As founder of a technology start up (http://texifter.com) and the QDAP labs (http://www.umass.edu/qdap), Stu’s work advances text mining and natural language processing research. His software trainings link these worlds via straightforward and easy to understand explanations of software features that can be tailored for all experience levels and project types.

Dr. Stuart W. Shulman is founder & CEO of Texifter, LLC and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding Director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP) at the University of Pittsburgh and at UMass Amherst, as well as Associate Director of the National Center for Digital Government.

Collaboration between SONIC and CFES

On Monday, January 24, 2011, SONIC Lab Director Professor Noshir Contractor and Dr. Jan van Dijk of the Center for eGovernment (CFES), signed a memorandum of understanding.

The aim of the collaboration is to combine the research expertise of CFES with SONIC Lab’s in advancing our understanding the networked government. Examples of networks with the context of government:

  • Networks of collaborating governmental agencies
  • Communication networks between citizens, businesses, and governments
  • Intermediary networks (roles of intermediaries in the stakeholder/government relationship)
  • Open data networks

Understanding the complexities of the networked government is difficult. Research in this domain is scarce. The shortage of research is magnified by the rise of social media (web 2.0). We lack theories that explain and anticipate the transformation and impact of the networked government at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. The cooperation between CFES and SONIC will seek to advance our knowledge in this field.

The mission of the SONIC/CFES collaboration is the following:

The SONlC/CFES collaboration combines social network theories, methods, and tools with knowledge from the e-Government domain to understand and meet the needs of the networked government.

The research groups will exchange knowledge, collaborate on funding of projects for (internationally comparative) research, and coauthor publications.

The website for CFES: http://www.utwente.nl/ibr/cfes/
The website for SONIC: http://sonic.northwestern.edu/

ICA and Sunbelt Conference paper acceptances

We have had papers accepted at the International Communication Association (ICA) and the INSNA Sunbelt conference for research related to team assembly and collaboration on Wikipedia articles about breaking news topics.

Keegan, B., Gergle, D., Contractor, N. (2011). “A Multi-theoretical, Multi-level Model of High Tempo Collaboration in an Online Community.” INSNA Sunbelt XXXI, Tampa, Florida.

Keegan, B. (2011). “Breaking News, Breaking Planes, and Breaking Hearts: Psycholinguistics and Sensemaking in Collaborative Accounts of Catastrophe.” International Communication Association, Boston, MA.

My ICA paper was nominated as a Best Student Paper for the Communication and Technology Division.

Gold farming conference acceptances

The VWO gold farming team has had several papers accepted for presentation at upcoming conferences.

Keegan, B., Ahmad, M., Williams, D., Srivastava, J., Contractor, N. (2011). “Mapping Gold Farming Back to Offline Clandestine Organizations: Methodological, Theoretical, and Ethical Challenges.” Game Behind the Video Game, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Keegan, B., Ahmad, M., Williams, D., Srivastava, J., Contractor, N. (2011). “Title: Using ERGMs to Map Online Clandestine Behavior to Offline Criminal Activity.” International Network of Social Network Analysis, Sunbelt XXXI, Tampa, FL.

See this and other VWO-related information at the project website.

Conference Acceptances Featuring CCAP work

International Sunbelt Social Network Conference (February 2011):
Young, L., & Contractor, N. (Feb 2011). Individual, tie, and network level predictors of access to social capital: Applying multi-level analysis to the study of ego-network capital. Paper presented at the 2011 International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL.

International Communication Association Conference (May 2011):
Young, L., & Pieterson, W. (May 2011). Government to citizen communication in a networked world: †Integrating network and communication theories to inform strategic communication. Paper presented at the 2011 International Communication Association Conference, Boston, MA.
* Also to be presented at the ICA Strategic Communication Pre-Conference (May 26, 2011)

INFORMS 2010 papers

INFORMS 2010 accepts “Encounter in Virtual Space” by Yun Huang, Roger B. Chen, Hani S. Mahmassani, and Noshir Contractor. This paper studies the impact of distance proximity on players’ relation building in SONY EverQuest II game. Yun Huang will present it in Austin Texas on November 10th 2010.

Leslie DeChurch SONIC Speaker Series

Leslie DeChurch,Leslie DeChurch University of Central Florida “Collaboration within and across teams: Leadership forms and network structures” Friday, November 19, 2010.

Organizations are restructuring into collaborative work systems because they offer the ability to address complex problems by combining expertise distributed across business functions, knowledge specialties, geographic locations, and organizational boundaries. Often times the goals these systems face are complex and multifaceted requiring multiple distinct teams to coordinate their efforts and compile information for decision making distributed across a network of teams. The current study explores the structural contingency theory prediction that collaboration is a function of alignment between the form of leadership and structure of communication network. Ideas were tested in a sample in 80, 6-person networks tasked with performing a laboratory pc-game-based humanitarian aid task. Leadership form and communication network structures were manipulated, and effects on socio-cognitive networks, teamwork processes, and multiteam effectiveness examined.

Professor DeChurch’s research program explores what makes effective team leaders, how teams successfully collaborate across boundaries, and how leadership and team dynamics are sustained in virtual organizations. Professor DeChurch is currently Principal Investigator on “Building functionally collaborative infrastructure in virtual organizations” (NSF), and “Leadership in complex network environments” (Army Research Institute).

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Collaboration Within and Across Teams


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