Sunbelt 2017

Keynote & Simmel Award Recipient


Ron Burt

Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy
Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

Professor Burt’s work describes social networks creating advantage. Applications focus on personal networks and the network structure of markets. In addition to computer software and articles in research journals, Professor Burt’s last three books are the one that proposed the concept of structural holes, Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition (1992, Harvard University Press), a broad review of links between network structure and performance, Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital (2005, Oxford University Press), and argument and evidence on advantage spillover from affiliation with advantaged others, Neighbor Networks: Competitive Advantage Local and Personal (2010, Oxford University Press, which received the 2011 Academy of Management George R. Terry Book Award for the work that most advanced management knowledge in the last two years). Research and teaching materials can be downloaded from his university website at

Professor Burt’s college work at Johns Hopkins University included pre-medical training, physiological psychology, and behavioral science. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in sociology, then was on the faculty at the University of California Berkeley, SUNY Albany, and Columbia University before returning to join the University of Chicago faculty in 1993. In 1999, he began a leave of absence to learn more about European business as the Shell Professor of Human Resources at INSEAD. In 2000, he began a leave of absence to learn more about practical implementation as the Vice President of Strategic Learning in Raytheon Company. He continues today at the University of Chicago.