Professor Contractor is Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University. He investigates factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in a wide variety of contexts, including communities of practice in business, science, and engineering, public health networks, and virtual worlds.
Professor Contractor has published or presented over 250 research papers dealing with communicating and organizing. His book titled Theories of Communication Networks, co-authored with Professor Peter Monge and published by Oxford University Press, and translated into simplified Chinese in 2009 and received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.
In 2014 he received the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award recognizing a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the International Communication Association. He was the co-founder and Chairman of Syndio, acquired in 2016 by Edge Analytics, which offered organizations products and services based on network analytics.