Faculty & Research

Ronald S. Burt

Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy

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5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Ronald Burt studies the ways that social networks create competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets (see research tab on personal website for downloads).

Burt joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1993. He spent the last several years teaching in our Executive M.B.A. program and in Chicago programs for senior executives. When commenting on the difference in environments at various institutions, he described Chicago as a place where "the risk of new ideas is higher than anywhere else because you are continually exposed to confrontation and contradiction between ideas. Most other places protect you from that."

Originally a pre-med major, Burt wanted to better explain people's behavior. He went into physiological psychology, then social psychology, finally finishing his doctorate under mathematical sociologist James Coleman here at Chicago. He earned a bachelor's degree in social and behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University in 1971 and a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1977. He sought a better understanding of European business by spending two years as the Shell Professor of Human Resources at INSEAD, and came to better understand practical applications of his research by spending two years as the Vice President of Strategic Learning at Raytheon Company.


2015 - 2016 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
39005 Strategic Leadership in Management Networks 2015 (Fall)
39006 Advanced Topics in Management Networks 2015 (Fall)
39802 Social Networks and Strategic Leadership 2016 (Summer)

Research Activities

Theory and research methodology describing the social structure of competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets.

"Network-related personality and the agency question: multirole evidence from a virtual world," American Journal of Sociology (2012).

Neighbor Networks: Competitive Advantage Local and Personal, (Oxford University Press, 2010).

“Commérages et réputation,” in Management et Réseaux Sociaux (Hermes-Lavoisier, 2008).

With D. Ronchi, "Teaching executives to see social capital: results from a field experiment," Social Science Research (2007).

Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital (Oxford University Press, 2005).