Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dan Brass on social networks' impact on HR

Thanks to Kate Ehrlich for introducing me to the research of Dan Brass, J. Hennings Hilliard Chair in Innovation Management at the University of Kentucky. Dan has done impressive work studying how social networks affect human resource management. I corresponded briefly with Dan and he graciously allowed me to share this article of his: "A Social Network Perspective on Human Resource Management," from Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 1995, vol. 13, pp. 39-79.

Reading the first couple pages of this article is rather like opening a time capsule. The social network perspective had not made it very far out of academia in 1995. You can imagine Dan's audience talking on huge clunky cell phones and wondering what all the fuss is about grunge rock, at the same time Dan is explaining how social networks bring measurement of relationships into a field (HR) focused on competencies of individuals. Thanks to the vision and work of Dan and others, we have come a long way since then.

Dan nicely categorizes the impact of social networks on HR. Starting with most basic fundamentals and proceeding to more complex effects, he orders them
  • Attitude similarity
  • Job satisfaction
  • Power and politics
  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Socialization
  • Training
  • Performance
  • Career development
  • Turnover
  • Conflict
Dan also shared with me a more up-to-date bibliography, organized in the same categories as above.

For more on HR and SNA, see this previous post.


Valdis said...

Dan was an early hero of mine... I was reading all of his 1980s SNA articles in 1989 @ the TRW Space Park Library. They not only had books on rocket science but they also subscrfibed to HBR, ASQ, AoMJ, etc.

This article actually helped lead to the first application of SNA at TRW in HR in 1990!

Brass, D.J. (1981). Structural relationships, job characteristics, and worker satisfaction and performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 26, 331-348.

Bruce Lewin said...

Hi Bruce,

I didn't realise SNA went that far back!

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