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).