Network theory and Humanitarian Action

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Network theory and Humanitarian Action

  1. 1. Network Theory inHumanitarian ActionNada Yehiya, Karolin Etterer, Alfonso,Maximiliano, Rahat and Shakeb
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION• Two very different articles in form andsubstance• Could we see any application to thehumanitarian field?• Are they complementary?
  3. 3. Voluntary associations and social network structure
  4. 4. A model of Humanitarian assistancecoordination
  5. 5. Article 4Voluntary Associations and Social Network Structure:Why Organizational Location and Type Are Important(Glanville, Jennifer L. 2004)
  6. 6. The debateHow does membership in associations influenceindividual persons social networks?membership increases density and decreasesdiversity?membership increases diversity and bridges differentsegments of society?→ dependence on characteristics of the association?
  7. 7. The idea of the articleAssociations differ in terms of theirLocation:Neighborhood vs. External organizationType:Expressive organization for socializinginstrumental organization for achievinga specific goal
  8. 8. The use of network theorySurvey asking for membership in associations ofdifferent types, characteristics of the most importantcontacts of responders and if these contacts alsoknow each otherStatistical analysis how these personal networksdiffer from statistically expected networks dependingon memebership in certain types of associations
  9. 9. The ResultsMembership in internal and/or expressiveassociations results in denser and less diversnetworksExternal organizations: no effect on density,but increased diversityInstrumental organizations: no effect ondensity, mixed results on diversity
  10. 10. Organizational type and location andHumanitarian ActionSocial Network(connectionbetweenindividual)InternalOrg.ExternalOrg.ExpressiveOrgInstrumentalVoluntaryassociationNeighborhoodTsunami(Indonesia)Mosque networkBorderlessMentalhealthSocialization(Church /Islam relatednetworks)Achieve agoalUN, INGO,IRC, CBOs,etcSocial network DensityRelationsDiversity Density DiversityCoordination
  11. 11. Applying the articles framework:participatory approach and the resulting beneficiarynetworksApplication of this article in humanitarian action:- investigation how different participatory approaches promotedifferent networks among the participating beneficiaries- this knowledge allows implementing a participatoryapproach,which results in more dense or diverse a beneficiary network
  12. 12. Article 11“Toward a Descriptive Model ofHumanitarian Assistance Coordination”(Stephenson, Max Jr. 2006)
  13. 13.  An alternate view to conceptualize humanitarian relief coordination atboth the strategic and operating scales of analysis. The operating environment of humanitarian assistance is best conceived asan interorganizational social network or regimeBut the structure of actors and the strategic and operating environments -“the setting” - does not encourage organizational coordination and may,indeed, actively discourage it”Organizational setting:Reluctant Partners operating amidst Diffuse AuthorityWFP – UNHCR –UNICEF –WHO >> UN OCHA (No Power over !)UN humanitarian aid network interventions lack a single steerperson withoperative hierarchical control.
  14. 14. Elements of a descriptive network model of HAStrategic Structure of Operating Environment + Operating LevelFactors + Boundary-Spanning ClaimsAuthorityinthisorganizationalcontextis“noncentralized”andmultiorganizational.
  15. 15. Exploring humanitarian network dynamics in this way help us to chart thesimilarities and differences among them and thereby, over time, possiblydevelop a typology of types of network forms that recur.Distinction between coordinationby hierarchical control (or command) & that by consensus.A consensus approach ---- generates shared ownership, enlisting the entirecommunity in the humanitarian effort..Hierarchical control - Command element provides clearer lines of authority andaccountability
  16. 16. Is coordination even possible without more centralizedauthority and even if so, worth the cost?Yes . - by building a sufficient density of common claims and formal andinformal ties to create an ongoing social network of organizational action.Information sharingStakeholder learning dialogues.Shared organizational NormsThe networks that operate in the humanitarian aid environment aredynamic and evolutionary.In crisis this network of humanitarian actors must create its own power to actwithout the strategic supervisory claim of a single strong coordinating agent andmust develop commonly the “power to” act collectively at the operational scale.
  17. 17. Applying network theory on Humanitarian Assistancecoordination Number of nodes in the graph representing humanitarian stakeholders Number of lines representing the relations among different stakeholders The graph shows that humanitarian network is not an ego centric network; most ofthe points (stakeholders) are interconnected, without any particular focal points.
  18. 18. Humanitarian stakeholders are reluctant partners, anddon’t operate according to hieratical authoritiesThus; Humanitarian organizations network is notconsidered as a centralized social network, whichmakes itless robust and more vulnerable to threats of disruptionBuilding sufficient density of common claims amonghumanitarian organizations could enhance networkRobustness and efficiency (slide 44)Toward a Descriptive Model of Humanitarian Assistance Coordination-Stephenson, 2006
  19. 19.  Power over  Power to If the humanitarian actors’ society lacks a hierarchy of commandand control; the problems of governance shouldn’t be reducedto who has authority over who instead governance should beconverted from commanding to creating the capacity to act andempower to accomplish collective goals The article highlighted how it’s important for humanitarianorganizations’ efficiency as a network to convert NGO’s socialhighly centralized power of individual actors into a poweras agents strategies (slide 45)Toward a Descriptive Model of Humanitarian Assistance Coordination-Stephenson, 2006
  20. 20.  In emergency situations humanitarian actors must developtogether the power to act collectively; By avoiding conflictinggoals and opportunism, also by enhancing effective leadershipand organizational strategy (Stephenson, P46) Improving the operational capacity of each organization bybuilding the capacity of its employees on 3 different levels;Individual level, group level and subordinate level Enhancing effective leadership, organizational strategy andinternal operational capacity reflect on how it’s important tohave multilayered analytical approach of understandinghumanitarian networksToward a Descriptive Model of Humanitarian Assistance Coordination-Stephenson, 2006
  21. 21.  The author suggested that a trusted stakeholder should work onencouraging the rest of actors to tackle common challenges andestablish common claims ICRC: not saddled by bureaucracy as UN + operate in differentcrisis + maintain Humanitarian principles For its structural position the author recommended ICRC;nodes that are well connected in general have highsocial capital(slide 43)Toward a Descriptive Model of Humanitarian Assistance Coordination-Stephenson, 2006
  22. 22.  Different: One on personal and other on organizations network One focuses on application of network theory as a method andthe other on its application in HA Coordination in HA: diversity of actors: challenge is to make itdense Enhancing coordination: enhanced communication,informal/formal networkComparison between the Two Articles
  23. 23. QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION• How could an organization’s connectedness inan organizational network influence itsmembers’ personal networks?If I am a member in an organization that is verywell connected to other organizations might Ihave a different personal network than if I weremember in an organization with few ties toother organizations?

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