Sophia Fu

J. Sophia

Assistant Professor of Communication



Sophia Fu’s research interests center around organizations, social networks, information and communication technologies (ICTs), entrepreneurship, innovation, and computational social science. Her research is motivated by one question: How can organizations more effectively catalyze organizational and social change? She uses multiple methods, such as interviews, content analysis, social network analysis, and statistical modeling, to examine the dynamic processes of organizing for public value creation. She has won awards for her research from the Academy of Management, International Communication Association, and National Science Foundation.


Hong Kong Baptist University
BA, International Journalism

Northwestern University
MS, Statistics

Northwestern University
PhD, Media, Technology, and Society


Sophia Fu’s research program focuses on how organizations can implement ICTs and design their interorganizational networks to more effectively catalyze organizational and social change. She is particularly interested in how new ICTs, such as social media, crowdfunding, and big data and analytics tools, enable organizations to communicate with external stakeholders in new ways; how the new communication processes can change organizational and interorganizational structures; and how shifts in organizational and interorganizational structures impact organizational, network, and community outcomes. The aim in these streams of research is to help address grand challenges, such as public health challenges, environmental degradation, educational inequality, and social exclusion.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

2017 – 2018. Doctoral Dissertation Research in DRMS: Where Does Innovation Come From? Exploring the Dynamic Processes of Organizing and Managing Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. National Science Foundation (SES#1730079), in the amount of $28,373.

2016 – 2017. Civil Society from the Bottom-up: Chinese Social Entrepreneurs as Innovators and Boundary Spanners. Buffet Institute for Global Studies, in the amount of $5,000.

2015 – 2017. The Impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Interorganizational Collaboration. Northwestern University School of Communication Faculty Innovation Grant, in the amount of $5,000.

Selected Publications

Fu, J. S. (2016). Leveraging social network analysis for the study of journalism in the information age. Journal of Communication, 66(2), 299-313. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12212

Fu, J. S., & Shumate, M. (2016). Hyperlinks as institutionalized connective public goods for collective action online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21(4), 298-311. doi: 10.1111/jcc4.12161

Fu, J. S., & Shumate, M. (2017). News media, social media, and hyperlink networks: An examination of integrated media effects. The Information Society, 33(2), 53-63. doi: 10.1080/01972243.2016.1271379

Chen, Y. R., & Fu, J. S. (2016). How to be heard on microblogs? Non-profit organizations’ follower networks and post features for information diffusion in China. Information, Communication & Society, 19(7), 978-993. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1086013

Shumate, M., Fu, J. S., & Cooper, K. R. (2018). Does cross-sector collaboration lead to higher non-profit capacity? Journal of Business Ethics, (150)2, 385-399. doi: 10.1007/s10551-018-3856-8

Awards & Recognitions

2018 Top Poster Award, Health Communication Division, International Communication Association

2017 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences, National Science Foundation

2017 Top 4 Paper Award, Organizational Communication Division, International Communication Association

2016 Best Paper Award, Public and Nonprofit Division, Academy of Management

2016 Carlo Masini Award for Innovative Scholarship, Public and Nonprofit Division, Academy of Management

Research Keywords