Introduction to Social Network Analysis
Social network analysis is the study of ties between people. In an organizational context, this type of analysis is used for studying collaboration and communication among employees.
Below you'll find some simple examples of what a social network question can tell you about your organization.
This is where you do your analysis. Every tool and measurement you need to analyze a social network is available from here.
Those who are connected
Such individuals are easily identified by simply counting the number of arrows pointing away or towards the individual. This role can be due to popularity or high dependency depending on the specific rating question.
In Socilyzer you can identify them by their high in- and/or out-degrees.
Brokers and Bottlenecks
Those that tie you together
These people mediate connections between otherwise seperated groups. A network position like this can have a gatekeeping function or a connection-promoting function. Organizations rely highly on such individuals.
You can usually identify these people by their high betweenness scores.
Influencers and Pulse-Takers
Those in the know
These are the employees that are the fewest 'jumps' away from all others in the network. They therefore often have the best overview of the organization and how things get done.
Influencers have high closeness scores - a measurement that reflects relative proximity to the whole network.
In Socilyzer people can be associated with groups so you can analyze how those groups interact. Typically these groups represent either departments or teams.
Within and between groups
All existing ties between and within groups can be summarised in two ways: 1) as a percentage of the number of possible ties and 2) as an average per person in the group. The button below the table switches between the two.
The diagonal shows the ties within groups and the remaining cells show interaction levels between groups. Rows indicate tie origin (raters) and the columns indicate tie destination (rated).
In the example on the right, you can see Logistics use 19% of their possible ties to Production, but that Production only use 5% of the ties to Logistics.
The overall structure of the network also contains information about your organization.
Center and periphery
The highly connected individuals are typically position close to the center(s) of the social network, whereas less connected and disconnected individuals are located in the periphery.
Furthermore, the visualization shows to what degree the organization is fragmented. Colors in the example reflect department and clearly shows one separated department.
Averages and distribution
Just like tradtional survey questions you can see how the interaction ratings are distributed and average. This gives you a general impression of the interaction level along with the average number of ties (in a preselected interval) per person.
Color Network By ...
Opinions and choices visualized
The visualization can also be colored by answers to any scale or multiple choice questions you might ask. On the right the answers to a scale question is visualized.
Coloring by scale answer can be used to determine if an opinion is particularly present in some groups than others.
Multiple choice answers can, for instance, be used to show if managers primarily interact among themselves or how geography affects collaboration. Pro-users also have the ability to use these answers to redefine the groups and thereby analyze the social network from another angle.
Grouping by relationships
Socilyzer also detects groups within a social network based on how well people are tied together. Groups that are highly connected internally are highlighted as a cluster. You adjust the sensitivity of the cluster detection. The clusters and the people in them are listed under the 'Clusters' tab.
As an example, this feature can be used to redefine teams or departments based on the actual work taking place.
Social Network Questions
Typically data is collected using surveys. These are some of the questions you might ask to reveal different social networks.
Rating the level of interaction with others
- How often do you work with this person?
- How often do you seek help from the following people?
- Would you be able to improve sales if you had more contact with the following people?
- To what extent do the following people do the same job as you?
Simply indicating whether there is a tie or not
- Who do you generally go to for advice? Indicate up to three people.
- Who is your immediate manager? Only indicate one.
- Who is in your team?
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