I’ve spent the last ten days or so furiously “seeking” background research on social network analysis. I have had a basic introduction to the concepts and applications of SNA, and I have a rough idea of how I want to experiment with SNA to drive change management in my organization. Realizing, though, that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, I am digging through the research, ransacking libraries and databases, to build out my understanding of the principles of SNA and how I can use it.
I will readily confess to being overwhelmed: so far, I’ve looked at 57 resources, some broad, some narrowly focused, and I’ve realized how very much I need to learn. I’ve used The Brain application to start building out a simple outline (sense making) of what I have looked at so far:
I’ve divided the material I’ve reviewed so far into two large areas: basic components of social network analysis (centrality, structural holes, ties, and so on) and applications (Influence, Knowledge Management, and Social Capital being of most interest to me now.)
My critical interest right now lies along the subject of influence, and there is plenty of research covering two different aspects that I want to further explore. The subject of leader influence in networks is covered in articles by Balkundi, Flodgren, and Valente (see references below). Balkundi looks at the impact of team structure and leaders’ networks to understand the impact to team effectiveness. Flodgren looks at local opinion leaders and how they influence medical outcomes. In a similar vein, Valente looks at how opinion leaders can act as gatekeepers for interventions, help change social norms, and accelerate behavior change. I’m also looking at methods for identifying key players, algorithms for which are explored by Borgatti and Kempe.
Review of the Borgatti and Kempe articles is pointing me in the direction I need to go next: before I proceed any further with my project, I need to have a better understanding of centrality, one of the basic concepts of social network analysis. The whole concept of Key Players is based in measures of centrality, so in order to fully understand the former I need to completely ground myself in the latter. Marching orders for the next several days are therefore to take a look at what I have collected so far on the subject of centrality, and get a grip on it. I’ll take it from there!
Balkundi, P., & Harrison, D. A. (2006). Ties, Leaders, and Time in Teams: Strong Inference About Network Structure’s Effects on Team Viability and Performance. Academy of Management Journal, 49(1), 49–68.
Balkundi, P., Kilduff, M., & Harrison, D. A. (2011). Centrality and charisma: Comparing how leader networks and attributions affect team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(6), 1209–1222.
Borgatti, S. P. (2006). Identifying sets of key players in a social network. Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory; Dordrecht, 12(1), 21–34.
Flodgren, G. (2011). Local opinion leaders: Effects on professional practice and health care outcomes.
Kempe, D., Kleinberg, J., & Tardos, É. (2003). Maximizing the Spread of Influence Through a Social Network. In Proceedings of the Ninth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (pp. 137–146). New York, NY, USA: ACM.
Valente, T. W., & Davis, R. L. (1999). Accelerating the Diffusion of Innovations Using Opinion Leaders. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 566(1), 55–67.
Valente, T. W., & Pumpuang, P. (2007). Identifying Opinion Leaders to Promote Behavior Change. Health Education & Behavior, 34(6), 881–896.