Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Network Perspective

Yesterday I visited with Steve Borgatti, professor of Organizational Studies at Boston College.

The first thing Steve and I started talking about has really stuck with me -- that organizations can benefit from simply being aware of the power of networks, without actually doing any network analysis. Steve calls this the "network perspective."

Given my PhD in network analysis, it might seem ironic that I was eagerly nodding my head at this notion. But to me it follows naturally. (Perhaps a tale for another day.)

At any rate, Steve's work has been invaluable to my own. Not only is he a leading scholar in social network analysis, but he's also assembled the best collection of online SNA resources you can get without a prescription.

If you are a regular reader of Connectedness, you have already enjoyed quite a bit of Steve's work. Several months ago, I devoted a few weeks' of posting to my public digestion of Steve's SNA summer school syllabus. (For examples, see Learning UCINET, The Power of Visualizing, and More on Maximizing Influence Through a Social Network.)

Now I am looking forward to chewing on another exemplary online syllabus compiled by Steve, this time for an MBA-oriented class entitled "Organizational Social Networks." This syllabus, being more business-focused and less academic, is actually even more in line with Connectedness themes than the summer school syllabus. I highly recommend you check it out.

And for more insight related to the network perspective, see "systems thinking" (e.g., Senge).

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