ISyE Seminar Series: Noshir Contractor


Noshir Contractor

"People Analytics: Using Digital Exhaust from the Web to Leverage Network Insights in the Workplace"

Presentation by Professor Noshir Contractor
Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences
Northwestern University

Wednesday, April 28
3:30-5:00 PM CST — Graduate Seminar and Reception (Zoom)

About the seminar:

In order to bring the performance of people analytics up — and in line with the hype — organizations need to do more than analyze data on demographic attributes. We need to focus not only on who people are but also who they know. The potential for social network analysis to identify “high potentials,” who has good ideas, who is influential, what teams will get work done efficiently and effectively is well established based on decades of research. The challenge has been the collection of network data via surveys that are time consuming, elicit low response rates and have a high obsolescence. This talk presents empirical examples ranging from corporate enterprises to simulated long duration space exploration to demonstrate how we can leverage people analytics – and in particular relational analytics - to mine “digital exhaust”— data created by individuals every day in their digital transactions, such as e‐mails, chats, “likes,” “follows,” @mentions, and file collaboration— to address challenges they face with issues such as team conflict, team assembly, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, and post-merger integration.


Better People Analytics, published in Harvard Business Review (pdf)


Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His research explores how social and knowledge networks form and perform. He received the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award in 2014 and was elected a Fellow of the International Communication Association in 2015. In 2018 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.


Seminar Video:



Start date
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 3:30 p.m.
End date
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 5 p.m.