Organisational Network Analysis

AIms of the course

This course offers an introduction into the theory and practice of organizational network analysis. The overall course objective is to enable students to understand organizations as network phenomena and networks as social phenomena, and to provide them with knowledge and skills required for the exploration and analysis of the organization as a network structure. 

 

Social networks as well as any other networked structures have been studied within a variety of disciplines, such as organizational sciences, sociology, andragogy, computing, statistics, etc. Accordingly, the social network analysis (SNA) approach has been used to study a variety of topics, from the Medici family’s business and marriage relations in Florence in the Middle Ages to terrorist and mafia networks today. All these disciplines have tried to give answers to the questions such as how do networks emerge, how do they develop, and how do they influence people’s behaviour in organizations and in the society as a whole.

 

Even though the area of potential application domains is obviously large, this course focuses on network models and their applications to organizational phenomena. We will provide a good balance between computational aspect of network research (by exploring and calculating network properties) and application of that knowledge to the real-world organizational settings, both at the micro level (where the network actors are individuals within organizations) and at the macro level (where the network actors are organizations within larger communities).

COURSE TOPICS

  • Basic concepts: defining networks and network properties
  • Basic forms of network analysis (degree, paths, diameter, network components, centrality measures etc.)
  • Managing networks; managing personal connectivity;
  • Visualization of networks;
  • Small world phenomenon and the related network models
  • Analysis of organizational and intra-organizational networks: (e.g. Work collaboration networks, Knowledge and learning networks, Idea flow and creativity networks, Career development and success networks, Hindrance and gossip networks)
  • Diffusion in a network: the impact of the network structure on the interaction of network members; opinion formation in a network; the diffusion of information and innovation through a network
  • Analysis of organizational and inter-organizational networks: (e.g. strategic alliances, supply chains, knowledge networks, comunities as interorganizational networks);
  • Networked learning; the effect of networks on individual, group and organizational learning and performance.
  • Networks in the age of digitalization

gained skills

  • develop an understanding of different theoretical approaches, methods and techniques for organizational network analysis as well as the analysis of networked data in general; be able to see that there is a whole world behind organizational chart that can be mapped, visuelized and managed in a way that positivelly contributes to organizational performance in so many aspect.
  • get an insight into the potentials and relevancy of these methods and techniques in different application domains (sciences, business, art, etc.);
  • acquire practical skills in applying methods and techniques for networked data analysis.