Sophia Fu

J. Sophia

Associate Professor of Communication


CI 207

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. (2020). Understanding the internal and external communicative drivers of organizational innovativeness. Communication Research.

Fu, J. S., Shumate, M., & Contractor, N. (2020). Organizational and individual innovation decisions in an interorganizational system: Social influence and decision-making authority. Journal of Communication, 70(4).

Fu, J. S., & Lai, C-H. (2020). Are we moving towards convergence or divergence? Mapping the intellectual structure and roots of online social network research 1997-2017. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 25 (1), 111-128.

Fu, J. S. (2019). Unpacking the influence of informational, organizational, and structural factors on the longitudinal change of the follower-followee network on Twitter. International Journal of Communication, 13, 3802-3825.

Fu, J. S., Cooper, K. R., & Shumate, M. (2020). Do U.S. faith-based social service organizations resist collaboration? Examining the role of religiosity and operational capacity in interorganizational partnerships. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

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