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What is a Network?       Clay SpinuzziClay.spinuzzi@utexas.edu     How to improve information flow in                     ...
Value• Understand how sociotechnical networks differ  from social network analysis and networked  organizations.• Understa...
WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT…          How to improve information flow in                                                 3    ...
We’re not talking about Social        Network Analysis (SNA)• Looks at connections between people• Connections are explici...
In social network analysis…                      Person     Person                                  Person                ...
Popular Books on SNA• Barabasi, Linked.• Gladwell, The Tipping Point.                 How to improve information flow in  ...
But SNA is different from         sociotechnical networks…•   SNA assumes constant nodes (human beings)•   SNA comparative...
We’re not talking about networked             organizations• A form of organization, distinct from tribes,  institutional ...
In a networked organization…         How to improve information flow in                                                9  ...
Popular Books on Networked            Organizations• Toffler, The Third Wave.• Brafman and Beckstrom, The Starfish and the...
But networked organizations are    different from sociotechnical             networks…• Networked organizations still assu...
Rather, we’re talking about        sociotechnical networks• Analysis that involves both humans and  nonhumans• Existing ac...
DISTRIBUTED WORK         How to improve information flow in                                                13         orga...
How to improve information flow in                                       14organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
How to improve information flow in                                       15organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
How to improve information flow in                                       16organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
How to improve information flow in                                       17organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
How to improve information flow in                                       18organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
Adhocracies• “man will find himself *sic+ liberated, a stranger in  a new free-form world of kinetic organizations. In  th...
Adhocracies How to improve information flow in                                        20 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinu...
Decentralization• “the new production system relies on a  combination of strategic alliances and ad hoc  cooperation proje...
1996: GIS-ALAS  How to improve information flow in                                         22  organizations (c) 2011 Clay...
TELECORP’S NETWORKS         How to improve information flow in                                                23         o...
Telecorp’s challenges• Complexity. The competitive and regulatory landscape  changed rapidly, leading to increasingly spec...
Telecorp as a Sociotechnical NetworkFrom the perspectives of• Activity theory• Actor-network theory“A dialogue, not a dial...
One Dog’s Death• “Rex” escaped his yard and was struck by a  car.• Who’s to blame? Someone didn’t effectively  circulate t...
Aside: I received an email…• “Im currently taking a Qualitative Research  Methods with [professor] at [university]. In  ou...
Two Ways to Build a Network1. Weaving (developmental)  – Starts at a point and diverges  – The longer the network, the mor...
Development (Weaving) in ALAS         Development          How to improve information flow in                             ...
Two Ways to Build a Network2. Splicing (political-rhetorical)   – Different preexisting elements converge   – The longer t...
Alliances (Splicing) in ALAS        How to improve information flow in                                               31   ...
Three Aspects of Telecorp’s Network• The physical network: sprawling, delicate.• The actor-network: spliced, symmetrically...
Four Characteristics of Sociotechnical                 Networks•   Heterogeneous•   Multiply linked•   Transformative•   B...
Five Events1. Rex’s owner notices interrupted service.2. He calls Telecorp and asks them to fix it.3. The message finds it...
How to improve information flow in                                       35organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
How to improve information flow in                                       36organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
Opening All the Black Boxes• “The workers’ jobs were complex because  their relations to other departments, other  activit...
Opening All the Black Boxes• “Without relative stability on which  sustainable practices could be founded and  formalized,...
Who’s Responsible?• Not the person who brought the information  into Telecorp, but …• The last line of defense: The NCC• B...
Exercise: Examine Social Media Use• What’s the team (functional boundaries)?• What are they trying to accomplish (multiple...
THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OFSOCIOTECHNICAL NETWORKS          How to improve information flow in                            ...
1. Heterogeneous• ANT: actants• AT: activities• Both: Qualitative, not quantitative                  How to improve inform...
2. Multiply Linked• Links are heterogeneous too.• Links must be observed and analyzed  empirically and/or discussed in int...
3. Transformative•   Standing sets of transformations.•   Here: information and services.•   Transformations often include...
4. Black-Boxed• When we lift the limiting assumption of  heterogeneity…• … we find that nodes are themselves  networks…• …...
Exercise: Apply the Four             Characteristics• Heterogeneous. What different types of nodes  (activities, actants) ...
Twitter as Ambient Status Update           How to improve information flow in                                             ...
Case Study: World of Warcraft• Sherlock, L. (2009). Genre, Activity, and  Collaborative Work and Play in World of  Warcraf...
Example: LinkedIn   How to improve information flow in                                          49   organizations (c) 201...
Exercise: Examine Weaving and                 Splicing• Weaving. In your case, how have things  developed and diverged? Th...
Takeaways• How sociotechnical networks differ from social  network analysis and networked organizations.• What a sociotech...
Applications• Examining sociotechnical networks - qualitatively.• Determining how an organization has become  woven togeth...
We Still Haven’t Discussed…• The details of activity theory• The details of actor-network theoryWe’ll get to these in the ...
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Spinuzzi network-2

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A slide deck discussing Chapter 2 of my book Network.

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Spinuzzi network-2

  1. 1. What is a Network? Clay SpinuzziClay.spinuzzi@utexas.edu How to improve information flow in 1 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  2. 2. Value• Understand how sociotechnical networks differ from social network analysis and networked organizations.• Understand what a sociotechnical network is and why this sort of analysis is valuable.• Understand conditions that have led to more distributed organizations.• Understand weaving and splicing in sociotechnical networks.• Understand the four characteristics of sociotechnical networks. How to improve information flow in 2 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  3. 3. WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT… How to improve information flow in 3 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  4. 4. We’re not talking about Social Network Analysis (SNA)• Looks at connections between people• Connections are explicit• Data collection focuses on quantification (surveys, structured interviews, classifiable communications, most recently email and social networks)• Analyses are typically quantitative• Great for finding hidden connections, structural holes• In popular literature: Gladwell, Barabasi How to improve information flow in 4 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  5. 5. In social network analysis… Person Person Person Person Person Person Person How to improve information flow in 5 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  6. 6. Popular Books on SNA• Barabasi, Linked.• Gladwell, The Tipping Point. How to improve information flow in 6 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  7. 7. But SNA is different from sociotechnical networks…• SNA assumes constant nodes (human beings)• SNA comparatively underdefines links• SNA misses the notion of mediation• SNA therefore takes fitness (competence) to be a property of the node How to improve information flow in 7 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  8. 8. We’re not talking about networked organizations• A form of organization, distinct from tribes, institutional hierarchies, and markets• Focused on the people in the organization, newly enabled to communicate via digital technologies• Described in studies of distributed work, peer production, and warfare• Characterized by distributed leadership, involving pushing discretion to edges of the organization• Involving tactics such as swarming and rapid iteration• … although we will see some of those characteristics in Telecorp. How to improve information flow in 8 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  9. 9. In a networked organization… How to improve information flow in 9 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  10. 10. Popular Books on Networked Organizations• Toffler, The Third Wave.• Brafman and Beckstrom, The Starfish and the Spider.• Robb, Brave New War. How to improve information flow in 10 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  11. 11. But networked organizations are different from sociotechnical networks…• Networked organizations still assume constant nodes (human beings)• Networked organizations still comparatively underdefine links• Networked organizations are phenomena, while sociotechnical networks represent analysis How to improve information flow in 11 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  12. 12. Rather, we’re talking about sociotechnical networks• Analysis that involves both humans and nonhumans• Existing across history• Focusing on sociocultural meaning of linking people, practices, and artifacts• Transforming information and capabilities through different configurations• Examples: Activity theory, actor-network theory How to improve information flow in 12 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  13. 13. DISTRIBUTED WORK How to improve information flow in 13 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  14. 14. How to improve information flow in 14organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  15. 15. How to improve information flow in 15organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  16. 16. How to improve information flow in 16organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  17. 17. How to improve information flow in 17organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  18. 18. How to improve information flow in 18organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  19. 19. Adhocracies• “man will find himself *sic+ liberated, a stranger in a new free-form world of kinetic organizations. In this alien landscape, his position will be constantly changing, fluid, and varied. And his organizational ties, like his ties with things, places, and people, will turn over at a frenetic and ever-accelerating pace.” (Toffler 1970, p.125)• “managers are losing their monopoly on decision- making” (Toffler 1970, p.140) How to improve information flow in 19 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  20. 20. Adhocracies How to improve information flow in 20 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  21. 21. Decentralization• “the new production system relies on a combination of strategic alliances and ad hoc cooperation projects between corporations, decentralized units of each major corporation, and networks of small and medium enterprises connecting among themselves and/or with large corporations or networks of corporations.” (Castells 2000, p.96) How to improve information flow in 21 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  22. 22. 1996: GIS-ALAS How to improve information flow in 22 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  23. 23. TELECORP’S NETWORKS How to improve information flow in 23 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  24. 24. Telecorp’s challenges• Complexity. The competitive and regulatory landscape changed rapidly, leading to increasingly specialized units.• Interconnectivity. Telecorp had to create seamless links with its “coopetition” - rapidly• Speed. Every call is an emergency, leading Telecorp’s workers to find shortcuts and to process multiple calls at once.• Volume. Telecorp was growing rapidly, as was the entire telecommunications sector.• Turnover. At this point, unemployment was low and Telecorp had a hard time keeping employees. How to improve information flow in 24 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  25. 25. Telecorp as a Sociotechnical NetworkFrom the perspectives of• Activity theory• Actor-network theory“A dialogue, not a dialectic.” How to improve information flow in 25 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  26. 26. One Dog’s Death• “Rex” escaped his yard and was struck by a car.• Who’s to blame? Someone didn’t effectively circulate the message “dog in yard.”• ANT: political-rhetorical aspect• AT: developmental aspect How to improve information flow in 26 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  27. 27. Aside: I received an email…• “Im currently taking a Qualitative Research Methods with [professor] at [university]. In our last class, we read your article "Who Killed Rex?" During our discussion, it was suggested that you fabricated your qualitative investigation of Telecorp in an effort to educate your readers …” How to improve information flow in 27 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  28. 28. Two Ways to Build a Network1. Weaving (developmental) – Starts at a point and diverges – The longer the network, the more attenuated it is – Example: Different kinds of fishing nets – “Weaving” analyses emphasize human cognition and expertise. They’re asymmetrical.Activity theory provides a weaving analysis How to improve information flow in 28 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  29. 29. Development (Weaving) in ALAS Development How to improve information flow in 29 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  30. 30. Two Ways to Build a Network2. Splicing (political-rhetorical) – Different preexisting elements converge – The longer the network, the stronger it is – Example: The Bell network – “Splicing” analyses examine humans and nonhumans on the same footing. They’re symmetrical.Actor-network theory provides a splicinganalysis. How to improve information flow in 30 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  31. 31. Alliances (Splicing) in ALAS How to improve information flow in 31 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  32. 32. Three Aspects of Telecorp’s Network• The physical network: sprawling, delicate.• The actor-network: spliced, symmetrically treated actants (human and nonhuman) that provide the illusion of unified service.• The activity network: woven, interlinked activities that are asymmetrically treated; developing; and structured. How to improve information flow in 32 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  33. 33. Four Characteristics of Sociotechnical Networks• Heterogeneous• Multiply linked• Transformative• Black-boxed How to improve information flow in 33 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  34. 34. Five Events1. Rex’s owner notices interrupted service.2. He calls Telecorp and asks them to fix it.3. The message finds its way to the NCC.4. An NCC worker calls a BigTel technician and orders the repair.5. BigTel’s technician visits the residence, accidentally letting Rex escape. How to improve information flow in 34 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  35. 35. How to improve information flow in 35organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  36. 36. How to improve information flow in 36organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  37. 37. Opening All the Black Boxes• “The workers’ jobs were complex because their relations to other departments, other activity systems, were complex and getting more complex all the time.” (p.57) How to improve information flow in 37 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  38. 38. Opening All the Black Boxes• “Without relative stability on which sustainable practices could be founded and formalized, workers could only learn by encountering contingencies and tailoring responses to each one of them.” (p.57) How to improve information flow in 38 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  39. 39. Who’s Responsible?• Not the person who brought the information into Telecorp, but …• The last line of defense: The NCC• But that person can plead mitigating circumstances! How to improve information flow in 39 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  40. 40. Exercise: Examine Social Media Use• What’s the team (functional boundaries)?• What are they trying to accomplish (multiple objectives)?• What are their assumptions?• What tools, texts, practices, people do they enlist, and how do those drag in other assumptions?• What information fails to circulate? How to improve information flow in 40 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  41. 41. THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OFSOCIOTECHNICAL NETWORKS How to improve information flow in 41 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  42. 42. 1. Heterogeneous• ANT: actants• AT: activities• Both: Qualitative, not quantitative How to improve information flow in 42 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  43. 43. 2. Multiply Linked• Links are heterogeneous too.• Links must be observed and analyzed empirically and/or discussed in interviews.• Formal or informal.• Active or passive. How to improve information flow in 43 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  44. 44. 3. Transformative• Standing sets of transformations.• Here: information and services.• Transformations often include genres.• Often qualitative and categorical.• How homogeneous assemblages of humans and nonhumans regularly effect transformations. How to improve information flow in 44 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  45. 45. 4. Black-Boxed• When we lift the limiting assumption of heterogeneity…• … we find that nodes are themselves networks…• … and we can potentially follow their links forever.• But in practice, the customer calls “the phone company.” How to improve information flow in 45 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  46. 46. Exercise: Apply the Four Characteristics• Heterogeneous. What different types of nodes (activities, actants) do you see in your case?• Multiply linked. What different types of connections (direct and indirect communication, influences, assumptions) do you see?• Transformative. What sorts of transformations (especially of information and services) do you see?• Black-boxed. How are parts of your case black- boxed – that is, how do people reduce complexity when talking about it? How to improve information flow in 46 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  47. 47. Twitter as Ambient Status Update How to improve information flow in 47 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  48. 48. Case Study: World of Warcraft• Sherlock, L. (2009). Genre, Activity, and Collaborative Work and Play in World of Warcraft: Places and Problems of Open Systems in Online Gaming. Journal Of Business And Technical Communication, 23(3), 263-293.• Grouping (team performance) enabled and enhanced through out-of-game genres.• Division of labor, strategies, tactics. How to improve information flow in 48 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  49. 49. Example: LinkedIn How to improve information flow in 49 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  50. 50. Exercise: Examine Weaving and Splicing• Weaving. In your case, how have things developed and diverged? Think especially of genres, functional groups, and practices.• Splicing. In your case, how have different things converged? Think especially of genres, functional groups, and practices.• “Text” comes from “textere,” to weave together. How are texts helping to weave – and splice – the organization? How to improve information flow in 50 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  51. 51. Takeaways• How sociotechnical networks differ from social network analysis and networked organizations.• What a sociotechnical network is.• Conditions that have led to more distributed organizations.• Weaving and splicing in sociotechnical networks.• The four characteristics of sociotechnical networks. How to improve information flow in 51 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  52. 52. Applications• Examining sociotechnical networks - qualitatively.• Determining how an organization has become woven together via development.• Determining how an organization has become spliced together via alliances.• Examining how they’re used at different levels.• Examining how they connect, especially in unsanctioned or unforeseen ways. How to improve information flow in 52 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi
  53. 53. We Still Haven’t Discussed…• The details of activity theory• The details of actor-network theoryWe’ll get to these in the next chapter How to improve information flow in 53 organizations (c) 2011 Clay Spinuzzi

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