Associate 2003-04

Noshir Contractor



During his Center appointment Professor Contractor will complete a book manuscript that examines multitheoretical, multilevel explanations for the creation, maintenance, dissolution, and reconstitution of knowledge-network links. His work is based on data collected in more than three dozen knowledge networks in the private sector and in governmental and nongovernmental agencies around the world. While networked forms of organizing in all of these sectors promise to shape our future social landscape in new and challenging ways, his book will offer the first systematic analyses that explain and model just how these new forms emerge, coalesce, and evolve in all their complexity.

The book is premised on the notion that as developments in information and communication technologies continue to reduce or eliminate potential logistical barriers to our network relations, it becomes increasingly important to identify the various social forces that enable or constrain development of these network linkages.

The book will provide three major contributions to the study of knowledge networks. First, a new theoretical framework that incorporates multiple theoretical mechanisms at multiple levels to validate knowledge-network configurations observed empirically. Second, agent-based computational models that incorporate multiple theoretical mechanisms from social theories to generate predictions of knowledge-network configurations. And third, new p* statistical network analysis for direct estimation of network parameters of these multitheoretical, multilevel knowledge-network models.

The outcome of this project will be the first comprehensive publication to explain and predict the emergence of knowledge networks. Insights and tools developed in the book will allow researchers to understand more fully, and employees to cultivate more effectively, knowledge networks in 21st-century organizations.