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© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Centre for Executive Learning and Leadership Social Networks Dr David Denyer...developing professional practice to make a difference
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Purpose of the presentation To understand the significance of social networks To explore how social networks can be built, shaped and used To examine the structure and effectiveness of your social networks
What are social networks? Why are they important? In 2s / 3s 5 minutes Feedback to whole group
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Firms/individuals seek to utilise 3 types of ‘capital’ Intellectual –“knowledge and knowing capability” (What) 1,3 Human –“skills and capabilities” (How) 1,4,5 Social –“networks of relationships” (Who) 2,5,6 1 Alvesson (2001 ), 2 Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998), 4 Spender (1996), 5 Coleman (1988), 6 Bourdieu (1986)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Success is not just dependent on knowledge or skills and capabilities but your network of relationships
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Social capital “Social capital is the goodwill available to individuals or groups. Its source lies in the structure and content of the actor's social relations. Its effects flow from the information, influence, and solidarity it makes available to the actor.” 1 Three dimensions 2 –Structural: network ties –Relational: trust –Cognitive: shared goals, plans 1 Adler & Kwon (2002: p.23), 2 Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Why are social networks important? Power 1 Leadership 2 Getting a job 3 Getting ahead 4 Performance 5 Higher performance ratings 6 Faster promotions 7 Higher salaries 8 Influencing others 9 Learning 10 Transferring knowledge 11 Attitude similarity 12 Job satisfaction 13 1 (e.g. Brass, 1984; Krackhardt, 1990); 2 (e.g. Leavitt, 1951); 3 (e.g. Granovetter, 1973); 4 (Burt, 1992); 5 (Brass, 1981; Mehra et al., 2001); 6 (Burt, 1992); 7 (Boxman et al., 1991; Seidel et al., 2000); 8 (French and Raven, 1968; Pfeffer; Friedkin, 1993; Krackhardt, 1987); 9 (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2000); 10 (Cross and Parker, 2002); 11 (e.g. Burkhardt, 1994); 12 (e.g. Roberts and O’Reilly, 1979)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Networks and Performance Centrality in an informal communication network is positively associated with promotion 1 and performance 2 Individuals with networks spanning social divides are associated with higher performance 3 Performance was positively related to centrality in advice networks 4 Centrality in social networks predicted individuals' workplace performance 5 Betweenness centrality in both information and awareness networks to be related to individual performance 6 The more an individual is asked for advice the better their performance; asking for advice is not correlated to performance 7 1 (e.g. Brass, 1984); 2 (Baldwin, Bedell & Johnson, 1997); 3 (Burt, 1992); 4 (Sparrowe, Liden, Wayne & Kraimer, 2001); 5 (Mehra, Kilduff & Brass, 2001); 6 (Cross & Cummings, 2004); 7 (Agnessens, 2006)
What do social networks look like?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management What is a network? A set of ties, all of the same type, among a set of actors –Actors can be persons, organizations… –A tie is an instance of a social relation
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Important relations Power / Status / Leadership / Role –boss of, teacher of… Cognitive/perceptual –knows, aware of what they know… Affective –likes, trusts, motivates… Communication –live advice, talks to, provides information to… Affiliations –belong to the same club, department, organisation…
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management A snapshot / x-ray of the organisation
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management = Waste A social network map = Ports = Rail = Highways = Property Departments = Education = Gas I frequently or very frequently receive information from this person that I need to do my job. (Senior Managers / Directors) = CEO
What is the most effective network structure?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Star Y Chain 5 Network patterns: fastest? least errors? leadership? morale? All-Channel Circle 1 Bavelas (1948), 2 Leavitt (1951)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Star “basic formal” Fast Few messages Few errors Highest leadership Y “Mixed” Between chain and star on most measures Chain “hierarchical” Slow Many messages Dissatisfied Circle “autocratic” Slow Many messages Satisfied No leadership “We need a system” 5 Network patterns: fastest? least errors? leadership? morale? All-Channel “informal” Fastest, fewest errors, Highest satisfaction No leadership 1 Bavelas (1948), 2 Leavitt (1951)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Centralized vs decentralized systems VariableSimple TaskComplex Task Fewest messagescentralized Least timecentralizeddecentralized Least errorscentralizeddecentralized Most satisfactiondecentralized 1 Bavelas (1948), 2 Leavitt (1951)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Dense networks with many redundant ties creates social support Interdependent relations Information spreads quickly But, people in the same clique know the same information You Redundant ties Bob Jenny Toby Carl
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Sparse networks with few redundant ties creates social support Independent relations Ties across important subgroups Provides access to new ideas and information Provides control and power “Capitalize on the opportunities in the white space of the network” 1 Much more likely to be in the companies top 20% 1 You Non- redundant tie Bob Jenny Toby Carl 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.168)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management The same applies for organisations: IT alliances in Valdis Krebs (2000)
How many people?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Our networks extend beyond the people that we immediately know The
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Even large networks are surprisingly small For example, in a network of 739,980 actors the average distance (links) between actors is only 2.9 Kevin Bacon Number # of People
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management rank = 116 rank = 668 rank = movies 50 year career
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Small World Phenomenon 1 Stanley Milgram (1967)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Even large organisations are surprisingly small
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 1. Over the last 3 months I have typically sought work-related information from this person.
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 2. Over the last three months, I have turned to this person to help me think through a new or challenging problem at work?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 3. If I was promoting an important new project or initiative this person would be influential in getting it approved or obtaining resources that I would need to make it work.
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 4. Over the last 3 months when work was going badly, or I have been worried about a deadline or target, I have turned to this person for support.
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 5. I understand this person's knowledge and skills. This does not necessarily mean that I have these skills or am knowledgeable in these domains but that I understand what skills this person has and domains they are knowledgeable in.
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Question 6. When I need information or advice, this person is generally accessible to me within a sufficient amount of time to help me solve my problem.
6 Common Network Traps
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Trap 1: The ‘bottlenecks’ 1 President Carter’s Administration meetings year 1 / year Cross and Thomas (2008: p.168) 2 Michael Link Remedy Identify information, decision rights and tasks that can be reallocated Challenge Overloaded, personal burnout Lack of new ideas Slow to respond
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Remedy Identify brokers, marginalized voices, overloaded points and fragmentation Trap 2: The ‘formalists’ 1 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.168) 2 Cross, Parker and Borgatti (2003) Challenge Inaccurate perception of the informal network Lack of understanding of how work really gets done Who do you go to for information to get your work done?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Trap 3: The ‘disconnected experts’ 1 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.167) Challenge Can be a high performer Fails to leverage network resources (technical expertise or skills) Finds change difficult (e.g. new role) Remedy Actively build ties to those who can provide expertise and skills
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Trap 4: The ‘biased networkers’ 1 Challenge Allow people who are similar and close (physical location) to dominate their network Remedy Identify underinvestment and overinvestment in relationship – strive for balance 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.167)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Trap 5: The ‘surface networkers’ 1 Challenge Surface level interactions that fail to build trust or reciprocity Network only works when they have something to offer Remedy Identify the perceptions of others. Modify behaviour accordingly 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.167)
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Remedy Discover where and how people need to be connected underneath the leaders Encourage networking across silos Trap 6: The ‘chameleons’ 1 1 Cross and Thomas (2008: p.168) Challenge Leaders absorb the interests and values of diverse subgroups Lack of alignment below the leaders drains momentum
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Business Relationship Networking Individually create a stakeholder map and assessment of relationship strengths Create a plan for influence and relationship building Know where to focus your effort
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Business Relationship Networking: Personal career progression Who are the people you need to influence (the people critical to your next move)? What is your strength of relationship with each of these people? Who are the connectors in your network? Where do you need to focus energy? How will you do it?
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Business Relationship Networking ME Boss Project Leader Team member 2 Team member 1 Project colleague 1 Mentor Project colleague 2
© CELL - Cranfield School of Management Process Start by putting yourself in the center of the page and then making circles for each of the people that you have key business relationships with. Draw lines connecting you to each person to represent the strength of the current relationship you have. –3 lines = very strong relationship, 2 = medium relationship, 1= low relationship strength. Now make an assessment of the relationships between some of these people. i.e. in this example you perceive that your project leader and your boss have a very strong relationship. Draw the distinction between Direct Influence and In-direct influence – so in this example how could the very strong relationship you have with your project leader enable you to improve the relationship you have with your boss? Now review each relationship and decide whether you want to maintain or enhance the level of each one. Look at the direct and indirect influencing possibilities and work with a partner to come up with a plan/ share ideas for how you might achieve your desired relationship status.
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