Excellent advice Steve!
> Steven Corman wrote:
> The problems you raise are present in many kinds of organizational research,
> but are especially bad when you are studying perceived networks. Like you
> said, you are asking people to "name names." I have found that even if
> people are not formally educated about networks, they have a pretty good
> sense that you are asking them for possibly sensitive "insider" information.
> If they question your motives or trustworthiness they will not cooperate, and
> you seem to recognize this already.
> In my experience, the main reasons people resist are: (1) they are worried
> that the data/results might be used specifically against them somehow, (2)
> they fear that the data/results will be distributed selectively to benefit an
> adversary, and (3) they see no reason to spend the time/effort required to
> answer your questions. So you try to structure your procedures in ways that
> address these concerns.
> In the US, the human subjects laws and regulations help a lot with item 1
> (Ich weiss nicht die Situation in Deutschland). I make it a big point to
> tell participants about how the university monitors research, and that my
> project had to undergo formal review to guard against risk to participants.
> I find that people are reassured to hear that you have actually thought about
> how the results could be misused and that you have taken steps to prevent
> I'm afraid the other factors are going to be more situational and mostly
> require good negotiating skills. For example, in my dissertation research
> (way back when!), I studied two organizations. In one of them (public works
> department) I was viewed with suspicion because of labor/management
> tensions. To resolve the issues, I agreed to give the union a copy of the
> results (item 2), and got management to give workers an extra 30 minute break
> to do the survey (item 3). So I got my data.
> Organizational climate is also a factor. In my other organization (a
> high-tech lab) I was viewed as more of a harmless nuisance and I had to make
> no special provisions. Yet it was the same study, questions, procedures and
> So perceived networks in organizations are simply challenging phenomena to
> study. You need to pick your organizations carefully, have some good luck,
> and be skillful in resolving participants' concerns.
> Steven R. (Steve) Corman
> Associate Professor
> Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
> Arizona State University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Markus Zmija [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 1:03 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: data acquisition
> a few months ago I have started to explore the
> field of social network analysis and I'm really
> fascinated. I'm mainly interested in the analysis of
> organisations, especially enterprises.
> But I wonder how to collect the data in such
> an organisational environment. I think it must
> be quite difficult to get the required information,
> in particular if it concerns trust-based and friendship relations.
> Wouldn't the asked/interviewed people be afraid
> that the information given by them is used for
> purposes, which do not suit to them?
> Does somebody know about literature or web pages
> related to this topic. Or - even better - can someone
> send me his experience how to create a trustful
> climate in which reliable and useful data can be
> I'm looking forward to receiving your feedback.
> on the Web: www.markus-zmija.de
> email: [log in to unmask]