Why Networks


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A guest lecture introducing social networks to graduate students at Humber College, Toronto

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  • Title: Networks? Image: potted plant, but when you click you see an image of a SOCIOGRAM, A NETWORK Examples of networks : old trade networks, exchange of information within a community Dyadic tie is a human network at its simplest, but typically a network is many ties taken together Within orgn + Between orgn Networks are not random – scientific laws to it. They underwrite and control networks. People are not connected equally. Their networks vary. Look for Key connectors. Work with them to shape and control a network.
  • Why Networks

    1. 1. Why Networks? Dimitrina Dimitrova, Ph.D. Guest lecture Humber College October 22, 2009
    2. 2. Oultine <ul><ul><li>What are social networks? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why are networks important? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we study them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some key ideas from SNA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can we use these ideas? </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Why Social Networks? <ul><ul><li>People are always connected to others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aristotle: “social animals” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationships and networks affect our lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recent attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both our knowledge about and the role of networks have increased </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. What Are Social Networks? <ul><li>K. Stephenson http://www.drkaren.us/KS_video01.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Definition: “Set of actors with their ties” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Actor/ node : people, organizations, groups, or any unit that is connected to others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ties, Relationships : connections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sociogram </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Many types of ties / networks </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give advice, collaborate, visit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Relationships do not arise randomly </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Study networks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Connections are not evenly distributed </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why Are Networks Important? <ul><ul><li>Networks affect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Process such as information flows, influence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Outcomes such as promotions, performance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizational networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Informal ties, through which work gets (or does not) get done. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some networks: leaders, executives, work groups, connections between departments/organizations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increasingly important </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information flows in traditional organizations versus information flows along informal networks </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. How do We Study Social Networks? <ul><ul><li>Social Network Analysis: a perspective that studies social relations, viewed in terms of nodes and ties. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Captures patterns of relationships among actors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explanations based on position in the network and its structure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constraints and opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect information: Social network survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyze information: UCINET </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take action: networking activities, etc. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Data matrix, Moreno
    8. 8. Sociogram, Moreno
    9. 9. How does This Work? <ul><li>Paul </li></ul><ul><li>Outgoing ties </li></ul>
    10. 10. Paul <ul><li>All ties </li></ul>
    11. 11. How does SNA Describe Networks? <ul><li>Origin </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Homophily (similarity) “Birds of a feather flock together ” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transitivity (transfer) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weak (E.g. acquaintances) versus strong (E.g. friends) ties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directed and undirected ties, reciprocal versus non-reciprocal ties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Position </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Isolates (no ties), pendants (one tie), stars (many ties), bridges (connectors) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Structure : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectivity, internal groupings, disconnects/structural holes </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Organizational Network <ul><li>Adapted from Cross& Parker </li></ul><ul><li>Positions : isolate, pendant, central actors, bridge </li></ul><ul><li>Information flows : long paths, vulnerability, possible bottleneck </li></ul>
    13. 13. York University class <ul><li>Tie: “Know” </li></ul><ul><li>Average number of ties 1.8 </li></ul><ul><li>Range from 0 to 4 </li></ul>
    14. 14. Humber College class, Section 2 <ul><li>Tie: “Talk to regularly” </li></ul><ul><li>Average number of ties 8.6 </li></ul><ul><li>Range from 3 to 15 </li></ul>
    15. 15. Humber College, Section 1 <ul><li>Tie: “Talk to regularly” </li></ul><ul><li>Average number of ties 18 </li></ul><ul><li>Range from 0 to 26 </li></ul>
    16. 16. Humber College, Section 2 Subgroups with different level of connections ( K-cores) 2 ties - green 5 ties - blue 6 ties - grey 7 ties - black 8 ties - pink 9 ties - red
    17. 17. End of Lecture: Group Exercises <ul><li>1. Compare the class at Humber College class with the class at York University. Describe the information flows in them. Discuss the consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Who are the best connected students in the Humber College class? Explain why. Use SNA terms if possible. What are the consequences of this connectivity for the students? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Imagine Julia is a PR professional in a corporation and Katelyn is the CEO. If Julia wants to tell Katelyn something quickly and CANNOT contact her directly, what should she do? Discuss alternatives. </li></ul><ul><li>4. In your friendships network, consider whether the characteristics of your friends and whether or not your friends know each other. Use SNA terms if possible. What are the consequences of these characteristics for you? </li></ul>