Batten Institute

Robert Cross


Bio: Rob Cross is an assistant professor of management at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. He is also a research fellow with Babson College’s Working Knowledge Consortia, where he focuses on social networks and knowledge-intensive work with companies and government agencies. His research focuses on knowledge creation and sharing, and specifically how relationships and informal networks in organizations can provide competitive advantage in knowledge-intensive work. In this program of research, he has worked with more than 60 strategically important networks across a wide range of well-known organizations in consulting, pharmaceuticals, software, electronics, computers, consumer products, financial services, petroleum, heavy equipment manufacturing, chemicals, and government.

Professor Cross is the editor of Networks in the Knowledge Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) and the author of The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). His research has generated five book chapters and 21 peer-reviewed articles, some of which have won awards at the Academy of Management. In addition to appearing in top scholarly outlets, his work has been featured in such venues as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Academy of Management Executive, and Organizational Dynamics. Professor Cross also speaks, consults, and conducts executive education both domestically and internationally. He holds a B.S. and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from Boston University.

Expertise: Social Network Analysis 



Fellowship Focus: During his Batten Fellowship, Rob Cross will collaborate with his faculty host, Tim Laseter, to conduct an invitation-only conference on social network analysis. Entitled “Leading in a Connected World,” the conference will feature Professor Cross and other thought leaders in social network analysis, along with various practitioners, in sessions moderated by Professor Laseter and other Darden faculty. The 150 attendees will come from a wide array of organizations, including 3M, Bank of America, the Defense Intelligence Agency, ExxonMobil, Fuji Xerox, Goldman Sachs, Hecht’s, IBM, Kraft Foods, Landmark Communications, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, NASA, Nextel, Pfizer, Russell Reynolds, Samsung, The Boston Consulting Group, United Way, World Bank, and Xerox. The conference will provide a springboard for launching an ongoing research relationship with the representative companies into the use of social network analysis to drive organizational change.Professor Cross and Professor Laseter will also collaborate to produce one or more articles for journals focusing on the application of social network analysis to new-product development and/or communities of practice. This research will ultimately help practitioners better understand the specific challenges of engaging strategically important groups in driving innovation and corporate transformation.

Contact Info

Appointment: 2004–2005

Publications & News


The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations (Harvard Business School Press, 2004).

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