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Social Network Research Workshop

Co-sponsored by RM, BPS, IM, OB, OMT divisions

Academy of Management Annual Conference
Denver, CO Saturday, 10 August, 2002
8am - 5pm, Convention Center, Room C209

Organizers:
Nicholas Athanassiou    Northeastern University, Boston, MA
([log in to unmask] )
Stephen P. Borgatti Boston College, Boston, MA ([log in to unmask])
Dan Brass   University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY ([log in to unmask])
Julie Hite  Brigham Young University, Provo, UT ([log in to unmask] )
David Krackhardt    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA ([log in to unmask])

Background
Social network research differs from other social research with respect to
three key areas:
1. The phenomenon studied is fundamentally the set of relationships of
various types among a set of actors. The actors can be individuals or
collectivities such as teams or organizations.  Relationships can be social
(friend of), affective (likes), cognitive (knows), flows (migration,
diffusion), and interactions (talks to).
2. Network analysis exists as a sub-field within a wide variety of disparate
traditional disciplines. In thinking about individual outcomes, network
researchers look to a person’s position in the network to define the
opportunities and constraints that a person will encounter. At the group
level, the network researcher expects the network structure of a group to
affect its performance.
3. Working with network data, social network researchers have developed a
powerful set of specialized methodological tools (and software) for network
data analysis and visualization.

Prior versions of this workshop have attracted a total of more than 250
participants in Boston (1997), San Diego (1998), Chicago (1999), Toronto
(2000), and Washington D.C. (2001).

Goals for Denver AOM Meeting PDW
- Introduce participants to the theory and practice of social network research
- Provide guidance in designing, executing, and publishing network studies
- Familiarize participants with specific social network application areas,
including international management, inter-organizational networks, and
intra-organizational networks
- Stimulate discussion and research collaborations among participants with
introductory and advanced backgrounds in the area


Program

The morning program (8am to noon) will offer fundamentals for the conduct of
social network research.
A. The Network Perspective
High level overview of how network thinking and research differ from
conventional social science research; Common themes in network research.
B. Network Concepts
Introduction to network concepts/measures, including: paths, density,
distance, cliques, cohesion, structural equivalence, centrality, structural
holes, social capital, etc.

During the afternoon (1pm to 5pm) participants will be separated into small
discussion groups led by the workshop organizers. The final program for such
groups will be tailored to the needs of the specific participants. The
participants will be asked to prioritize their preference from the following
modules as they pre-register for the workshop:

1       Survey of Empirical Research
Current overview of the principal findings of empirical network research in
the context of organizations. Summarizes work in power, influence, diffusion
of ideas, turnover, culture, etc.

2      Designing Network Studies
Matching network analysis methods of data collection and analysis to research
questions; IRB Process Strategies; Issues of Network Boundaries; Hypothesis
testing in the network context.

3      Adding the International Dimension
Network research that crosses international boundaries poses particular
challenges. A special session will be devoted to this topic.

4     Collecting Network Data
Covers types of questionnaires and other data collection devices (e.g., email
logs), types of media (e.g., paper vs. online surveys), ethical issues such
as confidentiality vs. anonymity, and getting access to respondents. In
addition, we discuss combining quantitative & qualitative data.

5     Analyzing Network Data
Tutorial on using UCINET software to analyze social network data. Covers data
entry formats, data transformations (e.g., dichotomizing, aggregating),
clique analysis, centrality, brokerage, and structural equivalence.

6     Network graphics
Tutorial on drawing network diagrams. Explores using color and node size to
encode actor attribute information (such as department or gender). Handling
2-mode networks

7     Publishing Network Research
Panel discussion on writing-up and publishing network research.

Pre-registration and Logistics

Because there has been excess demand for this workshop over the past five
years, we have made arrangements to expand the capacity to 60 for the Denver
meetings.

Pre-registration is required.  In the past, the number of pre-registered
participants has reached our capacity by late May. To pre-register, please:

1. Send email to Nicholas Athanassiou at [log in to unmask] to express
your interest and reserve a place. Please supply
a) university/organization affiliation, address, e-mail, telephone number,
and fax
b) describe specific research interests in social networks
c) your preference for participation in the afternoon sessions in order of
priority (list the session numbers in the order of your preference).

2. To secure your place send me a check for US$45 (I will act as our banker
so please make out to Nicholas Athanassiou; non-US residents please indicate
in your email so that we can make other arrangements):

Professor Nicholas Athanassiou
313 Hayden Hall
College of Business Administration
Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
(617)373-5759

3. Once the registration process is complete, you will receive a detailed
program for the day. This will happen during the third week in July.


The fee will secure a place and cover the costs of the workshop. Participants
will receive free CD ROM containing standard social network analysis software
and standard datasets. The software packages will consist of network drawing
software NetDraw, Pajek, Krackplot, and Mage and a 1-month trial version of
UCINET 5 for Windows. A light breakfast and afternoon refreshments will also
be covered. Participants will have access to notes on social network analysis
and to a list of attendees with their interests and their contact
information.


Nicholas Athanassiou
General Management Group
313 Hayden Hall
College of Business
Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115