Natalie C. Cotton-Nessler

Ph.D. 2013, University of Michigan

Ross School of Business & Department of Sociology


I completed my PhD in Management & Organizations and Sociology in August 2013, and am now an Assistant Professor of Management at Bentley University. If you would like more current details on me, you can find my faculty profile on the Bentley website (click here).

My research explores the intersection of sociological and psychological processes that influence how people relate to others at work. As a multi-method researcher, I use network surveys, in-depth interviews, and even electronic tracking systems to further our understanding of how people enact their relationships on a daily basis.


My dissertation, Skill in Interpersonal Networks, focused on the cognitive and behavioral skills that people use to navigate social networks. In particular, I tested whether some people have an advantage in their perceptions of relationships -- Are people who are central in networks more accurate in perceiving the strength of their relationships? (The answer is yes, but what matters more than centrality is how people interact on a daily basis with others at work.) I also studied the mental models (relational schemas and scripts) that people use to interact with others; I show that there is a relationship between a person's experience and embeddedness in an environment and how specific or general his or her mental models are for relationships.



updated February 15th, 2014

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