Presentation on theme: "Mark Hadfield, CeDARE HOW MIGHT BETTER ‘NETWORK THEORY’ AID ORGANISATIONAL AND SYSTEM REFORM EFFORTS?"— Presentation transcript:
Mark Hadfield, CeDARE HOW MIGHT BETTER ‘NETWORK THEORY’ AID ORGANISATIONAL AND SYSTEM REFORM EFFORTS?
NETWORK THEORY What are the key structural characteristics of networks that affect improvement efforts? What forms of social relationships engender collective responsibility for change? How could better theoretical descriptions of individual’s ‘networked’ agency add to the discussions of the leadership of change?
WHY DO WE NEED BETTER NETWORK THEORIES ? 1.The ‘Patina Effect’ A range of studies have begun to reveal how the intersections and interactions between differing forms of networks have substantially impacted upon reform activities. (Coburn and Russell, 2008; Penuel et al, 2010, Spillane et al 2010)
WHY DO WE NEED BETTER NETWORK THEORIES ? 2. The extent to which leadership is a social or personal phenomena Research on the leadership of reform efforts have begun to reveal how leaders at all levels use networks to draw down support, from the emotional to the political (Ehrich 1994: Belcher, 1996) and exert influence (Friedkin and Slater, 1994; Spillane & Orlina, 2005; Daly and Finnigan, 2010).
WHY DO WE NEED BETTER NETWORK THEORIES ? 3. Relative importance of formal and informal leadership structures There are still significant gaps in understanding how leaders utilize different types of networks in their leadership of reform efforts. ‘Frameworks for studying leadership activity are scarce, and those that exist tend to focus chiefly on either individual agency or the role of macro-structure in shaping what leaders do.’ (Spillane et al 2009 p.4)
WHY DO WE NEED BETTER NETWORK THEORIES ? 4. A number of education systems, include England, continue to experiment with differing forms of collaborative reform The success of these reforms that will depend upon the building of complex mixes of personal and organizational networks.
THE DOMINANT THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS LINKING ORGANISATIONAL AND SYSTEM REFORM WITH ‘NETWORK’ THEORY Reforms efforts are essentially defined by the nature and pattern of the interactions that occur within them as these shape and define its aims, culture, and ways of working. (Brass, 1984; Brass et al, 2004; Kilduff and Tsai, 2003). Research needs to focus on the relational, functional and structural characteristics of such interactions. Influence within networks is generally seen as being based on the manipulation, ‘conversion’ and development of social capital (Baron et al, 2000).
THE DOMINANT THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS LINKING ORGANISATIONAL AND SYSTEM REFORM WITH ‘NETWORK’ THEORY Putnam’s (1995: 66) definition of "social capital" is most commonly used, the ‘features of organizations such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit’. Leaders’ agency is constructed around their positioning within networks, their ability to challenge or define norms, and the building of trust. Leadership roles are defined in terms of crossing boundaries, brokerage, and facilitation within and between different groups. (Hargreaves, 2003; Veuglers and O’Hair, 2005; Little and Veuglers, 2005; Kubiak, 2009).
THEORETICAL CONSEQUENCES NO. 1 – A MORE EXPANSIVE ACCOUNT OF THE AGENCY AND STRUCTURE DEBATE WITHIN THE LEADERSHIP OF CHANGE AGENCY = LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE = LEADERSHIP Agency is the ability to act, the ability to act routinely or to act differently, the ability, in principle- whether or not this ability is drawn upon – to act reflexively (or prereflexively) in relation to the external and internal structures that provide the conditions of actions. (Stones, 2001 p.184) ‘Structure’ refers to the various elements which individuals must contend with when forming action, from the tangible to the intangible, from things like classroom lay-outs to world-views and cultural dispositions. ‘Human agency’ refers to the actions of individuals within the context of (and, in fact, through) structure. …In this view, activity is a product of what the actor knows, believes, and does in and through particular social, cultural, and material contexts. (Spillane et al 2009 p.10)
MONO Individual >>>Organisational >>>Systemic EGOTISTICAL PROFESSIONAL PERSONAL NETWORKS FORMAL INFORMAL CROSS-DISTRICT INITIATIVES THEORETICAL CONSEQUENCE NO. 2 A MOVE FROM MONO-TONAL TO MULTI-TONAL ACCOUNTS
MULTI THEORETICAL CONSEQUENCE NO. 2 A MOVE FROM MONO-TONAL TO MULTI-TONAL ACCOUNTS Networked Agency SystemicOrganisationalIndividual
Five Theoretical & Methodological Limitations 1. Actual mapping of interactions in networks still tends to be mono-tonal and pays little attention to the intersections between networks. CONSEQUENCE There is a failure to fully capture the ways in which leaders drawn on and utilise their membership of different networks within reform efforts. RESPONSE We need to move away from, regarding leaders as ‘gap-fillers’ (Burt, 1992, 2005) or ‘integrators’ (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967). We need less static and more ‘playful’ notions of individuals’ agency within networks. Acting more akin to organisational ‘entrepreneurs’ (Bartlett and Dibben, 2002) who consciously use the intersections between their different networks to prompt transitions and changes. We also need to re-conceptualize the ‘multiplexity’ and structural plurality of leaders’ network. One approach would be to treat the totality of leaders’ networking - their networked landscapes - as structurally akin to that of a ‘social system’ (Giddens 1984) that ‘sit’ between broader social structures and individuals’ collective agency.
Five Theoretical & Methodological Limitations 2. The popularity of social capital theories and SNA leads to greater emphasis on the spatial nature of interactions and the not their temporal development. CONSEQUENCE Network analyses are insufficiently dynamic being merely structural ‘snap shots’ that fail to give an adequate understanding of the fragility and temporary nature of much networking. RESPONSE We require more theoretical insights into network building and transitions in individuals’ membership of networks, in order to develop our understanding of how to recruit and mobilise network members. Possible alternative perspectives include new social movement theory (Passy 2003; Klandermans, 2004) which focuses on transitions between networks and the development of activists.
Five Theoretical & Methodological Limitations 3. Functional analyses of network interactions tend to be restricted to mapping exchanges of various forms of capital (information, support) rather than focussing on qualitatively more complex processes such as consensus building or joint practice development. CONSEQUENCE There are relatively few differentiated accounts of the development of partnership cultures, principles and rules within networks which could guide the development of more complex interactions. RESPONSE Requires a change in root metaphor, away from treating ‘networking’ as a zero sum game of exchanges and a move towards seeing it as a generative and multi-layered phenomena that is capable of resulting in culturally new patterns of activity within the network. This move would be in line with models of multi-level learning organisations (Hannah and Leaster, 2009) and practice-based, situated forms of knowledge that arise from collective learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Stoll et al. 2005), as well as Engstrom’s (2001) notion of expansive learning.
Five Theoretical & Methodological Limitations 4. Leaders’ agency tends to described by reference to their network position and access to existing cultural capital, their ability to develop new relationships based on trust and reciprocity, and the manipulation of existing cultural norms. CONSEQUENCE We end up with over-socialized accounts of leadership, and other individuals, within networks that are overly deterministic and simplistically discuss the impact of social ties and exchanges. RESPONSE There is a need to recognise that individuals have the ability to use a wide range of structural resources to bring about change and influence others. This range would be from ‘deeper’ or embodied structures, based on emotion and identity, to ‘broader’ or social structures, based on cultural norms, social needs and affiliations, (Bourdieu, 1994). Leaders within their own social systems have the capacity to draw in resources, from the moral and symbolic to the political and cognitive, from one network to another.
Five Theoretical & Methodological Limitations 5. Networks tend to be treated as benign forms, when considered along side more bureaucratic structures. The wide spread use of Putnam’s definition of social capital has also tended to restrict the exploration of power relationships and underplayed the role of symbolic capital. CONSEQUENCE There is very little tradition of studying the negative impact of networks in education and research has left unexamined what could be described as ‘structural violence’ aimed at silencing and excluding others and maintaining unequal distributions of power. RESPONSE There needs to much greater emphasis on how individuals’ within networks are able to disrupt existing assumptions, critically assess existing norms and practices, and deal with ‘homophily’ (Brass et al, 2004). A possible alternative perspective is 3rd generation activity theory (Engestrom, 1996) and the study of contradictions, as historically accumulating structural tensions, between different networks of activity systems.