Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Using SNA to enhance collective leadership

In July of 2006, the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) awarded a Community Seed Fund grant to explore the use of social network analysis (SNA) and assess its value to those who run, study, and fund leadership development programs.

Our experience using SNA in three communities led to three strikingly different results. The table below summarizes the results in each community along with important distinguishing traits of each community:

Primary result of SNA
Traits of community
Schuylkill Learning Community
Collective leadership: Community members improved their “big picture” awareness of who is working with whom how they can accomplish more together.
Funder-initiated community with formal membership, paid external facilitator and mandatory attendance at meetings.
North Carolina Community Solutions Network
Professional perspective: Community members learned to see their work outside the community in a new way. Community facilitator improved “big picture” awareness.
Self-organized community with paid internal facilitator, predominantly rural constituency
Bay Area LLC Learning Circle
Introduction to new topic: Community members expressed interest in learning more about SNA technology, methods, and applications.
Self-organized community with no formal facilitator, next door to Silicon Valley

In other words, communities under formal oversight gained a lot from seeing themselves through a network lens (instead of the usual "us" vs "the man" lens), while more self-energized communities found the network lens to be less transformational (but still academically interesting).

You can read our complete report here, where it lives with other Shared Knowledge and Resources provided by LLC.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License and is copyrighted (c) 2007 by Connective Associates except where otherwise noted.

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