***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** The International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) awarded its first annual Visible Path Graduate Student Award for new research on social networks and professional performance today. The winner, Nathaniel Bulkley, a doctoral student working with Assistant Professor Marshall Van Alstyne at the University of Michigan School of Information, conducted surveys and studied six months of email data and accounting records from an executive recruiting firm representative of professional services firms organized around client practices. An interesting finding was that characteristics of the recruiter’s internal networks were statistically significant predictors of performance, but the size of their private rolodexes were not. Bulkley's winning paper, “An Empirical Analysis of Strategies and Efficiencies in Social Networks” can be downloaded from http://www- personal.umich.edu/~natb/ The abstract of his paper is: This research examines hypotheses about the efficient and strategic uses of social networks by a specific group of white collar workers. We examine existing theory that relates network structure to performance and put forward two new hypotheses. The first addition merges explore/exploit theory with social networks, proposing that optimal network characteristics evolve over the course of a career from those favoring exploration to those favoring exploitation of knowledge and relationships. The second concerns efficient movement of information through a network, proposing that frequent short communication outperforms infrequent lengthy communication. Using a unique data set containing email patterns and accounting records for several dozen executive recruiters, we find statistically significant differences related to network (1) structure (2) flow and (3) age. Consistent with existing theory, more central position is associated with higher output. Consistent with the two proposed theories, exploration strategies among early career recruiters and exploitation strategies among senior recruiters are both positively associated with performance, while more frequent shorter messages are associated with higher output. Results of this research have the potential to create a more complete understanding of different types of efficiency associated with social networks. In brief, Bulkley’s email analysis found relationships between centrality and performance, while also showing how aspects of how social networks are used relate to performance. Shorter, more frequent responses were associated with higher performance and professional’s network use evolved over the course of a career from an emphasis on accumulating to exercising social capital. Bulkley’s findings suggest professional service firms may be able to develop more efficient and effective communications strategies through the use of relational measures derived from electronic data sources. A recent BusinessWeek story (Feb. 13) highlighted the growing popularity of dashboards that incorporate real-time data. Will future dashboards emphasize real-time relational measures? Bulkley reseach will be featured at at INSNA's upcoming http:// www.insna.org/2006/sunbelt2006.html Sunbelt conference in Vancouver. The Visible Path Graduate Student award is sponsored by http:// www.visiblepath.com Visible Path. Details for the 2007 Visible Path Graduate Student award will be announced shortly. _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.