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The Role of Social Networks in Collaborative Networks
 

The Role of Social Networks in Collaborative Networks

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Presented at Social Network/ing Research Symposium, University of Toronto, Nov 2&3, 2007 by Dimitrina Dimitrova, York University and ...

Presented at Social Network/ing Research Symposium, University of Toronto, Nov 2&3, 2007 by Dimitrina Dimitrova, York University and
Don Brookes, Canadian Water Network.

Research team:
D. Dimitrova, University of Toronto
E. Koku, Drexel University
B. Wellman, University of Toronto
H. White, Drexel University

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  • The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate the use of social network analysis in helping the Canadian Water Network (CWN) to understand its social capital and to set strategy. We briefly describe the results of a project initiated by Don Brookes on behalf of CWN and led by Dima Dimitrova at the University of Toronto.

The Role of Social Networks in Collaborative Networks The Role of Social Networks in Collaborative Networks Presentation Transcript

  • Social Network/ing Research Symposium, University of Toronto, Nov 2&3, 2007 Dimitrina Dimitrova, York University Don Brookes, Canadian Water Network
    • One of over twenty Networks of Centres of Excellence
    • Started in 2001
    • Funded for a maximum of 14 years
    • Purpose:
      • Foster innovation in water management and technology by funding and collaboration of research with the private and public sectors
  • Thinking Trap: “CWN’s Network” Future Without CWN?
    • What’s in a name?
      • Canadian Water Network
      • A Knowledge Innovation Network
      • A Network of Centres of Excellence
      • Strategy: “Grow the network!”
          • The consequences of vagueness ….
    • Social Network Analysis and Setting Strategy for the Canadian Water Network
  • The house I got. The house I wanted.
      • Research team
          • D. Dimitrova, University of Toronto
          • E. Koku, Drexel University
          • B. Wellman, University of Toronto
          • H. White, Drexel University
    • Who works in the area? Who do they know? How do they work?
      • What are their socio-demographic characteristics? What are their networks? How do they use them? How do they create ties?
    • What is the network of researchers and practitioners in the area of water?
      • What are the connections? Who are the important people? Who collaborates with whom? Who cites whom? Is collaboration across sectors, multidisciplinary, and nation-wide?
    • How does institutional context affect collaboration?
      • How do universities affect collaborative research? What is the role of CWN?
    • Web-based network survey N=173
      • Recruitment: CWN, OWWA, workshops, word of mouth
      • Analyses: Centrality, Cliques, Bridges
    • Citation analysis N=31
      • Central CWN members
    • Semi-structured interviews N=64
      • Purposive sample
      • QSR NVivo
    • Review of documents
      • Research proposals, internal reports, records
    • Using Networks
      • Who are the people in the area of water?
      • Who do they know?
      • How do they use their ties to start projects?
      • Are there ties to support partnerships across sectors?
    • Building Networks
      • How are cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary ties created?
    • Mature experienced professionals
      • Mean age 48 years; mean work experience 15 years
    • Diverse in terms of sector and discipline
      • Over 3 dozens disciplines
    • Senior positions
      • 53% full professors; 44% senior managers
    • Established networks
      • Known network members for 8 years on the average
    • Work ties
      • More federal staff and academics work with the majority of network members
    Who Works in the Area of Water?
    • Academics mobilize personal networks in team selection
      • “ I don’t … work with people I don’t like (Principal Investigator).”
    • Practitioners join projects with people they know
      • “ … industry never knows when they enter into an agreement with a researcher, whether they’re going to find something bad and run out to the newspapers … (Academic, former government employee)”
    • Typical team: long-term collaborators and some newcomers referred by them
    • Increase commitment
      • “ I don’t know that we’ve had difficulties, simply because you pick your people at the beginning … people you can trust, people who have a track record of doing stuff, and on whom you can rely and things unfold smoothly (Principal Investigator).”
    • Facilitate communication
      • “ We always wanted to know that it had been received by them, because if it hadn’t …. it’s too late – you’ve lost the sample. I don’t think they appreciated the importance of it (Principal Investigator).”
    • Decreases communication and cooperation problems
    • Ties across sectors
      • Federal staff most outward oriented: 81% cross-sectoral ties
      • Academics most inward oriented: 47% cross-sectoral ties
      • Most common cross-sectoral tie is between academics and federal staff
    • Cross-sectoral collaboration
      • A dozen work cliques
      • Over half of the cliques are cross-sectoral
      • Out of the cross-sectoral cliques, most include academics and federal staff
  • Sector of Respondents (Columns) by Sector of their Ties (Rows) N = 1904 SECTOR OF RESPONDENT Academic Federal Government Provincial Government Local Government Industry NGO Others Total SECTOR OF TIE Academic 53% (424) 26% (47) 14% (27) 10% (32) 18% (42) 11% (14) 18% (7) 593 Federal Government 14% (113) 19% (34) 10% (19) 4% (12) 5% (13) 4% (5) 3% (1) 197 Provincial Government 9% (75) 16% (29) 38% (72) 11% (36) 13% (32) 10% (12) 16% (6) 262 Local Government 6% (46) 10% (18) 14% (27) 42% (132) 26% (61) 13% (16) 16% (6) 306 Industry 10% (76) 8% (15) 16% (30) 17% (52) 31% (73) 18% (22) 5% (2) 270 NGO 6% (49) 5% (9) 3% (6) 6% (19) 3% (8) 22% (27) 29% (11) 129 Others 1% (11) 15% (27) 4% (7) 10% (30) 3% (8) 22% (27) 13% (5) 115 N 100% (794) 100% (179) 100% (188) 100% (313) 100% (237) 100% (123) 100% (38) 1872
  • Clique : 164, 128, 146
    • Ties grow “naturally”
      • Normal course of professional life: studies, workplace, community work, events
      • Few opportunities for developing cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary ties
      • Universities do little to encourage such ties
    • CWN role
      • Provides community for those interested in multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration
        • “ With Canadian Water Network, one of the things that I’ve been trying to do … is to find my academic clan“ (Multidisciplinary researcher)
      • Some CWN meetings creates such ties
  •  
    • Accept the researcher institutional and project management environment as given
    • A self-sustaining network is not probable
      • Need the structure a CWN provides
      • Money is still the honey, but where it comes from makes a difference
    • Balance density and openness
      • Avoid growth for growth's sake
      • Trusted inter-sectoral connections are key
      • Attract new connections around contributing to solutions
    • Use a new strategy for funding to animate network
      • User driven, consortia funding
    • Develop inter and intra provincial, municipal and industrial ties
      • Locus of implementation and greatest potential
    • Change emphasis of researcher networking meetings
      • Smaller problem centered researcher/user workshops
    • Combine strategies for knowledge, innovation support and interpersonal connections
      • Knowledge management and social capital are two sides of the innovation coin
    • Continue web-based survey
      • Monitor development and effects of actions
    • Develop internet social networking tools and support
      • Social networking specific to innovation
    • Develop knowledge base tools
      • Make knowledge more accessible to users
    • Explore how we might encourage development of brokers
      • Are brokers or can they be developed?