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Faculty Profiles

Rob Cross

  • Associate Professor
  • Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership
Academic Division: Management


Rob Cross is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College. For almost twenty years, his research, teaching and consulting have focused on applying social network analysis ideas to critical business issues for actionable insights and bottom-line results. He has worked with over 300 leading organizations (companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations) across industries on a variety of solutions including innovation, revenue growth, leadership effectiveness and talent management.

Ideas emerging from his research have resulted in three books, the most recent one titled, Driving Results through Social Networks. Rob has written over 50 articles, many of which have won awards. In addition to top scholarly outlets, his work has been repeatedly published in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Academy of Management Executive and Organizational Dynamics. His work has also been featured in venues such as Business Week, Fortune, The Financial Times, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CIO, Inc. and Fast Company.

Academic Degrees

  • DBA, Boston University School of Management
  • MBA, University of Virginia
  • BS, University of Virginia

Awards & Honors

  • 2017 — Top Published Paper Sloan Management Review 2017, Sloan Management Review
  • 2017 — Outstanding Group & Organization Management (GOM) Paper, Group and Organization Management
  • 2016 — Top Ten Published Paper, Harvard Business Review
  • 2012 — Richard Beckhard Award for Best Published Paper, Sloan Management Review
  • 2012 — Outstanding Practitioner-Oriented Publication in Organizational Behavior, Academy of Management
  • 2008 — Outstanding Practitioner-Oriented Publication in Organizational Behavior, Academy of Management


Journal Articles

  • Cross, R.L., Edmondson, A., Murphy, W.C. (2020). A Noble Purpose Alone Won’t Transform Your Company. MIT Sloan Management Review.
  • Carboni, I., Cross, R.L., Parker, A. (2020). Invisible Network Drivers of Women’s Success . Organizational Dynamics.
  • Hess, M., Trevino, L., Cross, R.L. (2019). Beyond Silence or Compliance: The Complexities of Reporting a Friend for Misconduct. Business Ethics Quarterly.
  • Cross, R.L., Davenport, T.H., Gray, P. (2019). Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder. MIT Sloan Management Review.
  • Crocker, A., Gray, P., Cross, R.L. (2019). How Targeted Network Investments Promote Organizational Agility.
  • Cross, R.L., Taylor, S.N., Zehner, D., , . (2018). Collaboration without burnout. Harvard Business Review. Vol: 96, Issue: 4, Page: 134-137.
  • Crocker, A., Gardner, H.K., Cross, R.L. (2018). How To Make Sure Agile Teams Can Work Together. Harvard Business Review. Vol: Digital Article.
  • Cross, R.L., Opie, T.R., Pryor, G., Rollag, K.W. (2017). Connect and Adapt: How Network Development and Transformation Improve Retention and Engagement in Employees’ First Five Years. Organizational Dynamics.
  • Arena, M., Cross, R.L., Sims, J.P., Uhl-Bien, M. (2017). How to Catalyze Innovation in Your Organization. MIT Sloan Management Review. Vol: 58, Issue: 4, Page: 39-47. link
  • Shah, N., Levin, D., Cross, R.L. (2017). Secondhand Social Capital: Boundary Spanning, Secondhand Closure and Individual Performance. Social Networks.
  • Cross, R.L., Rebels, R., Grant, A. (2016). Collaborative Overload. Harvard Business Review. Vol: 94, Issue: 1, Page: 74-79.
  • Ballinger, G., Cross, R.L., Holtom, B. (2016). The Right Friends in the Right Places: Understanding Network Structure as a Predictor of Voluntary Turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol: 101, Issue: 4, Page: 535-548.
  • Gerbasi, A., Porath, C., Spreitzer, G., Cross, R.L. (2015). Destructive De-engergizing Relationships: How Thriving Buffers Their Effect on Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol: 100, Issue: 5, Page: 1423-1433.
  • Cross, R.L., Ernst, C., Assimakopoulos, D., Ranta, D. (2015). Investing in Boundary-Spanning Collaboration to Drive Efficiency and Innovation. Organizational Dynamics. Vol: 44, Issue: 3, Page: 204-216.
  • Shah, N., Cross, R.L., Levin, D. (2015). Performance Benefits from Providing Assistance in Networks: Relationships that Generate Learning. Journal of Management.
  • Levin, D., Walter, J., Appleyard, M., Cross, R.L. (2015). Trusted Network-Bridging Ties: A Dyadic Approach to the Brokerage-Closure Dilemma. Group & Organization Management. Vol: 41, Issue: 4, Page: 415-457.
  • Cross, R.L., Ernst, C., Pasmore, W. (2013). A Bridge Too Far? How Boundary Spanning Networks Drive Organizational Change and Effectiveness. Organizational Dynamics. Vol: 42, Issue: 4, Page: 81-91.
  • Fishman, M., Cross, R.L., Tadmore, B. (2013). Better Connected. Nature. Vol: 493, Page: 707-710.
  • Cross, R.L., Kase, R., Kilduff, M., King, Z. (2013). The Social Network Perspective: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice in Organizational Network Analysis. Human Resource Management. Vol: 52, Issue: 4, Page: 627-644.
  • Cross, R.L., Gray, P. (2013). Where Has the Time Gone? Addressing Collaboration Overload in a Networked Economy. California Management Review. Vol: 56, Issue: 1, Page: 50-66.
  • Cross, R.L., Gray, P., Gerbasi, A., Assimakopoulos, D. (2012). Building Engagement from the Ground Up: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks to Drive Employee Engagement. Organizational Dynamics. Vol: 41, Page: 202-211.

Book Chapters

  • Cross, R.L., Thomas, R. (2012). Target and Energize Your Network: HBR Guide to Networking. Harvard Business School Press.


  • Carboni, I., Cross, R.L. (2019). The Secrets of Successful Female Networkers: Four Behaviors Set Them Apart: The Secrets of Successful Female Networkers: Four Behaviors Set Them Apart. Harvard Business Review.
  • Cross, R.L. (2019). To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships : To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships . Harvard Business School Press.
  • Cross, R., Crocker, A., Gardner, H. (2018). How To Make Sure Agile Teams Can Work Together. Harvard Business Review -- Blog. link
  • Cross, R., Gray, P. (2018). The Best Way To Network In A New Job . Harvard Business Review -- Blog. link

Articles - Circular or newsletter (e.g., Babson Insight)

  • Cross, R.L., Taylor, S.N. (2018). How successful people manage collaborative overload. . link


  • Agility in a Connected World Cross, R. Sylvester, D. HRS NYC, New York City (2019)
  • A Relational View of Well-Being in the Workplace Cross, R. Connected Commons Fall Summit 2019, Williamsburg VA (2019)
  • Driving Agility at the Point of Execution Cross, R. Connected Commons Spring Summit 2019, Cambridge Ma (2019)
  • Talent Mobility In A Connected World Cross, R. Sylvester, D. Institute for Corporate Productivity Annual Conference, Scottsdale AZ (2019)
  • Creating the Agile Organization Cross, R. Creating the Agile Organization, Workday - Pleasanton CA (2018)
  • Leading In A Connected World Cross, R. Connected Commons Fall Conference, Babson (2018)
  • Diversity in Networks: Improving Diversity Initiatives with a Network Lens Carboni, I. Langowitz, N. Parker, A. Cross, R. Connected Commons Summit, Babson College (2018)

Professional Services

  • Founder and Research Director Connected Commons ()