Thursday, May 05, 2005

Annotated Bibliography of Social Network Analysis for Business

[Since this post was originally written, I have created a living bibliography on leadership networks here, which is a useful (if slightly redundant) supplement to the information below.]

While we were preparing for our recent presentation to the Mass Bay OD Learning Group, Patti Anklam shared with me a comprehensive SNA bibliography she had assembled and organized by topic, like so:
  • Social and personal networks in organizations
  • Communities of practice
  • Networks, business, and knowledge management
  • Organizational networks research
  • The science of networks
  • SNA textbooks
  • Brief readings and articles
  • Websites and blogs
I liked her bibliography so much I linked every resource to the appropriate page on (or other vendor, when necessary). Along the way I added a couple entries; I also collected reviews on every book and selected a choice few sentences to summarize the salient points of each. And so without further ado, here is the one and only bibliography every business person needs to get dangerous with social network analysis.

OK just a little bit of further ado. If you read only one book, start with The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Then when you're ready for more, here's your list:

Social Network Analysis Bibliography

By Patti Anklam and Bruce Hoppe

Quoted Reviews from

May 2005

Social and personal networks in organisations:

The Hidden Power of Social Networks, Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, Harvard Business School Press, 2004. “In this dense but useful volume, Cross and Parker give readers insight into how unofficial networks form and function. They also share their methodology for rendering these basically unseen networks visible to managers. Rather than using their book as a forum to garner new consulting business-with a ‘kids don’t try this at home’ approach-they encourage readers to pursue network analysis at their own organizations by arming them with step-by-step instructions through two appendixes. The authors present their material in the nitty-gritty style of an evening business course, with lots of charts and examples. They take their mission of arming managers with a substantive strategic tool very seriously. In this way, theirs is unlike many management books that are high on concept and lacking in application-Cross and Parker provide a guide that is directly applicable to improving the functionality of any organization.”

The Quantum Theory of Trust, Karen Stephenson, Prentice Hall, 2005. “Companies around the world are beginning to learn that they can profit by analyzing invisible social networks, and understanding their impact…. Stephenson introduces the analysis of networks to identify the personalities and patterns of organisations, and shows how to manage the personal currency that counts in good networks: trust.”

The Social Life of Information, John Seeley Brown and Paul Duguid, Harvard Business School Press, 2000. “Their aim is not to pass judgment but to help remedy the tunnel vision that prevents technologists from seeing larger the social context that their ideas must ultimately inhabit.”

In Good Company, How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work, Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak, 2001. "The book's novelty and appeal lie in the . . . attention to the power of commonplace conversations. . ." “providing insight into the causality between a company's social atmosphere and its success.”

Achieving Success through Social Capital, Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks, Wayne Baker, Jossey Bass Publishers, 2000. “Here, an expert on building connections shows how building social capital produces higher pay, faster promotions, better jobs, breakthrough ideas, new business opportunities, and profitable companies.”

Communities of Practice:

Cultivating Communities of Practice, Etienne Wenger, William Snyder,W. & Richard McDermott, R., Harvard Business School Press, 2002. “Laying out a logical, step-by-step process for building one of these communities, the authors define specific roles for each member of the group. But senior managers looking, as the subtitle suggests, for "a guide to managing knowledge" may be disappointed in the scant space actually devoted to developing a system that captures and manages the learning that comes out of a "community of practice."”

Leveraging Communities of Practice for Strategic Advantage, Hubert Saint-Onge and Deborah Wallace, Butterworth Heinemann, 2003. “combines theory and practice to outline a model for developing successful communities of practice and proposes a direction for establishing communities of practice as an integral part of the organizational structure.” “Written in thick clotted prose.”

Communities of Practice: Lessons from Leading Collaborative Enterprises Simon Lelic, Ark Group, 2004. “benchmark your own strategies and techniques against 16 of the world's leading practitioners.”

Networks, business, and knowledge management:

Living Networks, Ross Dawson, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, 2003. “provides a lucid and visionary framework in which to chart a succesful company or individual course in the Knowledge Economy.” “More practical than Allee’s book.”

The Future of Knowledge: Increasing Prosperity through Value Networks. Verna Allee, Butterworth Heinemann, 2002. “Overall, the book offers a fresh, thought-provoking look at what have become already become well-worn concepts in the knowledge management field. Allee has synthesized a diverse array of ideas and concepts and theories from multiple disciplines to this work.”

The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization, Thomas A. Stewart, Currency Doubleday 2001. “While not groundbreaking, his latest book offers a broad survey of business from the intellectual capitalist's perspective, from the basic economics of knowledge and business organization theory and management to selling and accounting for knowledge. Stewart could have fit this subject into a serious business magazine article; in expanding it, he simply adds a relentlessly upbeat mix of grand metaphors and detailed examples.”

The Information Ecology, Thomas A. Davenport and Laurence Prusak, Oxford University Press, 1997. “This is for people who are building an IT structure or are looking for a paradigm shift in how they do IT. If your IT environment is not producing results this is a great place to start. It provides the theory to apply to real life situations.”

Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce, David W. DeLong, Oxford University Press 2004. “The bulk of the book is a detailed look at the effectiveness of knowledge management techniques in a variety of companies rather than a focus on the retirement problem.”

The Trusted Leader, Robert Galford, Free Press 2002. “A knitting-together of management theory, real-life anecdotes and snappy tools and self-assessment quizzes, the book tries gamely to be both authoritative and accessible. Its strongest section is a discussion of the "enemies of trusted leadership"-office archetypes ranging from power-hungry control freaks to underperforming slackers-who can undermine what a CEO is trying to achieve.”

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, James Surowiecki, Little Brown 2004. “"Wise crowds" need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions…. Surowiecki's style is pleasantly informal, a tactical disguise for what might otherwise be rather dense material. He offers a great introduction to applied behavioral economics and game theory.”

Organizational networks research:

Knowledge and Social Capital: Foundation and Applications, Eric L. Lesser (Editor), Butterworth Heinemann, 2000. “Knowledge and Social Capital explains how social capital can drive collaboration, reconcile an organization's internal and external labor markets, and improve organizational effectiveness. This edited compilation of authoritative articles helps readers understand how they can build and capitalize on their own organizations' social capital.”

Networks in the Knowledge Economy, Rob Cross, Andrew Parker, Lisa Sasson (Editors), Oxford University Press, 2003

The science of networks:

Six Degrees, The Science of the Connected Age, Duncan J. Watts, W.W. Norton, 2003. “A network of discoveries across an array of disciplines tell the story of an explosive new field of knowledge, the people who are building it, and Watt's own peculiar path in forging this new science.”

Nexus, Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks, Mark Buchanan, Norton, 2002. “presents the fundamental principles of the emerging field of 'small worlds' theory--the idea that a hidden pattern is the key to how networks interact and exchange information, whether that network is the information highway or the firing of neurons in the brain.”

Linked, The New Science of Networks, Albert-László Barabási, Perseus Publishing 2002. “First book to explore the hot new science of networks and their impact on nature, business, medicine, and everyday life. This book has a simple message: think networks. It is about how networks emerge, what they look like, and how they evolve.”

Social Network Analysis Texts

Social Network Analysis: A Handbook, John Scott, Sage Publications 2nd Edition 2000. “provides an accessible introduction to the theory and practice of network analysis in the social sciences. It gives a clear and authoritative guide to the general framework of network analysis, explaining the basic concepts, technical measures and reviewing the available computer programs.”

Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications, Stanley Wasserman and Kathleen Faust, Cambridge University Press, 1994. “reviews and discusses methods for the analysis of social networks with a focus on applications of these methods to many substantive examples. As the first book to provide a comprehensive coverage of the methodology and applications of the field, this study is both a reference book and a textbook.”

Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Ron Burt, Harvard University Press, 1995. “If you're looking to get ahead, you should aim to build a circle of work and personal contacts that is broad and diverse…. A good read, if you're into theory, though a bit of a slog at times. The author appears to bear a bit of a grudge against some fellow academics who disagree with his conclusions.”

Managing the Flow of Technology: Technology Transfer and the Dissemination of Information of Technological Information with the R&D Organization, Tom Allen, MIT Press 1997. “summarizes more than a decade of work on communications flow in science and engineering organizations, showing how human and organizational systems could be restructured to bring about improved productivity and better person-to-person contact.”

Brief Readings: Articles

"The People Who Make Organizations Go--or Stop" Laurence Prusak; Rob Cross, Harvard Business Review June 2002

"Making Invisible Work Visible:Using Social Network Analysis to Support Strategic Collaboration" by Rob Cross, Stephen P. Borgatti, and Andrew Parker, California Management Review, Vol 44, No. 2, Winter 2002

Karen Stephenson’s Quantum Theory of Trust,” Booz-Allen’s strategy+business, Vol 29, 2003.

Informal Networks: The company behind the charts,” David Krackhardt and Jeffrey Hanson, Harvard Business Review, July-August 1993

How Networks Reshape Organizations for Results,” Ram Charan, Harvard Business Review September-October 1991

What Creates Energy in Organizations?Rob Cross, Wayne Baker, and Andrew Parker, Sloan Management Review, Summer 2003

A Practical Guide to Social networks,” Rob Cross, Jeanne Liedtka, and Leigh Weiss, Harvard Business Review, March 2005

KM and the Social Network,” by Patti Anklam. Knowledge Management Magazine, May 2003.

“A Relational View of Information Seeking and Learning in Social Networks,” Borgatti, S.P. and Cross, R. 2003. Management Science. 49(4): 432-445.[pdf]

“Knowing What We Know: Supporting Knowledge Creation and Sharing in Social Networks,” Cross, R., Parker, A., Prusak, L. & Borgatti, S.P. 2001. Organizational Dynamics 30(2): 100-120. [pdf]

“Beyond Answers: Dimensions of the Advice Network,” Cross, R., Borgatti, S.P., & Parker, A. 2001. Social Networks 23(3): 215-235. [pdf]

“A birds-eye view: Using social network analysis to improve knowledge creation and sharing,” Cross, R.L., Parker, A. and Borgatti, S.P. 2000. Knowledge Directions. 2(1): 48-61. [pdf]

Web Sites and Blogs

Rob Cross at the University of Virginia:

Valdis Krebs:

Stephen Borgatti:

Bruce Hoppe:


Patti Anklam:

Research and the SNA Community

INSNA (International Network for Social Network Analysis)


Jim Durbin said...

This is a fantastic list. Thank you.

Shannon said...

A few additions I would add to this great list of resources:


Critical Mass: How one thing leads to another - by Phillip Ball. Fundementally about the networks underlying everything, a great book if long.

Body of works by people such as Dr. Anna Nagurney who are working on Networks from an economics and engineering perspective. Especially works on transportation networks which can illumniate some of the complexity of networks in a way well studied in that domain - yet applicable to other fields.


I have to suggest my own site, MeshForum ( and our wiki at which as a conference about Networks and a non-profit focused on supporting research into Networks is a good and growing reference website and community.

If we could include your bibiliography on our WIKI and build on it with the resources of the full community that would be fantastic - the wiki is public so you can add the content yourself if you like.

thanks for a great list and resource!

Founder, MeshForum
"Connecting Networks"

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Hi! This is just great!
I'm studying at the Vienna University of Economics&Business Administration International Business and Business Administration with the special field on Strategic Management, Management Control and Consulting and I'm just up to my final thesis about the consequences of networks for a firm from the social network theory perspective.
I was searching for some additional articels and I found out your blog! It's just fantastic. You provide so many valuable information, which I was looking for. The literature list is just fantastic. I already found some stuff from Burt and Granovetter but you gave me some more ideas. Thank you and please keep posting:)
Greetings from sunny Vienna

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