***** To join INSNA, visit ***** Safety, effectance and status change and are constantly affected by others in the network. This is "obvious" for status. But the sense of safety is also strongly affected by the ego network. Although safety is a primitive need, one's network, even in the second order zone can enhance or destroy it. Effectance -- reaching out to others -- learned at age six or earlier in various degrees by different people can be extinguished or rewarded by one's network. "Chemistry" of teams is therefore critical since the team network has consequences for individual motivation. I didn't say much about this in my book, but like so many important things, as Duncan Watts has observed, are "obvious" once you know the answer. So individuals are not molecules, as Bruno Latour has emphasized (perhaps over emphasized in claiming the distinction between individuals and social systems is specious).

On 9/28/2014 10:04 PM, John McCreery wrote:
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Dear Friends,

A few days ago I was reading Stephen Borgatti and Virginie Lopez-Kidwell's "Network Theory" article in the SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis. Impressed by the argument that social network theories (theories in which network properties are the independent variables) can be divided into two broad types, network flow theories and network architecture theories, I began to ponder the relevance of what I was reading to my own research on networks formed by members of project teams that create award-winning advertising in Japan and the frustration I encounter when trying to relate network properties to my historical and ethnographic data. A thought popped into my mind. People in the advertising world talk about the importance of team chemistry for creativity. Similar conversations occur wherever project teams pursue innovation. But neither network flow theories nor network architecture theories address this issue. Attempting to apply them directly to the study of project team performance is, in effect, like doing chemistry without molecules or the table of elements required to explain molecular interactions. Excited by this idea, I composed the following abstract for a paper on this subject.

It has been suggested that network theories fall into two broad types: network flow theories and network architecture theories. Drawing on research on networks formed by project teams that create advertising, this paper proposes the need for a third type of theory: network chemistry theory. It argues that network flow and network architecture theories are, in effect, analogous to chemistry without molecules. Networks are formed between actors treated as atomic individuals. Attributes may be assigned to differentiate broad classes of individuals. The behavior of the individuals in question is said to be effected by such network-related factors as homophily, triad balance, or centrality. The motivation of individuals who make up networks is described in simple terms, desire for safety, effectance, and status. But the chemistry that occurs when individuals with different skills and temperaments are brought together in project teams whose purpose is innovation, the creation of something not present before, to achieve specific concrete results, is omitted from both network flow and network architecture theories. This paper suggests some of the issues confronting those who might attempt to develop such a network chemistry theory addressing this gap. 

At this point in my research I am relying heavily on Charles Kadushin's Understanding Social Networks in my efforts to develop these ideas. The question I put to you here is what other work should I be looking at? The Kindle reader on my iPad is already well-stocked with such recent books as Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman's Networked: The New Social Operating System, Borgatti, Everett and Johnson's Analyzing Social Networks, and Dominguez and Hollstein's Mixed Methods Social Networks Research. There may, however, be important work relevant to my topic that is not cited in these sources. If you have suggestions, I would be most grateful.


John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
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Charles Kadushin
Distinguished Scholar,
Cohen Center for Jewish Studies, Brandeis University
Visiting Research Professor, Sociology
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