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I have spent some time trying to conceptualize an issue that I think
borders on SNA if it isn't part of it. Perhaps a mathematician or
physicist in recovery or someone else might help.
I would like to theorize that the melting characteristic of
organizations that I am finding in my qualitative research is due to an
increased energy in the movement and mobility of persons into and out of
places. This is both a mobility of physical movement and a mobility of
connectivity through IT--email, phone, web, etc.
My mental picture of this is molecules in motion with various types of
contexts yielding state changes, etc. in various situations. Thus there
might be analogues for PV=nRT etc.
Thus, bureaucratic organizations (the state, corporations, etc.) are
relatively like ice cubes--rigid, fixed, and fairly stable in molecular
terms. As energy in systems heats up, the ice melts and fractures and
bonds become more liquid. Eventually energy inherent in relationships
reaches levels where the relationships are not liquid-like but more
Energy is a function of the motility of information.
Certain organizations are like containers of liquids and cubes made of
ice. Nation-states might fit this bill as might language groups or what
I call ontologies--e.g. religious views.
Because I am interested in actor-network-theory, I also postulate that
organizations with rigid physical structures as actants (e.g. buildings,
HQs, specific types of systems, accounts, etc.) are also more ice-like
and that information is less likely to flow far and with greater energy
in such organizations. As they melt, there is a sort of slush.
I am trying to get past the metaphor stage. Any ideas on how to begin
to look at a "kinetic SNA" (i.e. relationships as expressions of
energy)? Has this path already been worked out? I can't find it if it
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