***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Hi John, Harrison White, who has been involved in the development of social network analysis, built a set of concepts that are similar in some aspects to those of chemistry. In chapter 5 of "Identity and control" ("Institutions and Rhetorics"), he wrote : "Control and production, analogous to temperature and force-gradients, are the impetuses to social process. Both the social analogue to space and the analogue to molecule are emergent and negotiable; they are context and identity established by chance." and "The continuing joint reproduction of a market profile binds producers such that their ensemble becomes treated by themselves and others as a player. This player is a molecule in which constituent firms are bound as atoms. Yet also, this is a player with an identity, a player that participants and observers alike speak of as taking action, and which guides interpretations. Embedding is defined in and by this process. Each production market is thus also a folk theory that reproduces itself out of the continuing perceptions and actions of all participants in a market. The market is an actor with a different ontology from firms, whose actions are clearly on a different level." So he seems to have added to the social network analysis some sort of equivalent of molecules. Michel Grossetti Le 03/10/2014 03:43, John McCreery a écrit : > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** > One colleague replying privately to my most recent message writes, > > "dunno. i reckon we'd get on as humans. dunno what it would add to the > busienss, but..." > > > The obvious response is the question, "Must it add to the business?" > Knowledge for knowledge's sake is not a bad thing, and there is always > the possibility that someone else will find a way to apply the results > of basic research. In this case, however, I think that we can do a bit > better than that. > > To the best of my knowledge, which is limited, applications of network > analysis to business usually come down to overlaying network diagrams > on maps of the business units into which an organization or market is > divided. It is then possible to quickly identify actors in bridging > positions who may either facilitate or become bottlenecks to > communication between the units in question. Alternatively, the > overlay may reveal an absence of communication between units that is > hampering business development. So far, so good. But suppose the > question is how to staff a project team with the goal of creating > something new, which entails creating relationships that do not yet > exist either in the formal organization chart or in the network > diagram. Choosing the members of a team is now a matter of art, in > which the director of a project thinks of who might be good for a > certain role, assesses the level of talent or skill that they bring to > the table, checks their availability and then reaches out to them (or > to their bosses, who must sign off on their new engagement). > > But let's be more concrete. When I was working for the Japanese agency > that once employed me, my clients were often large international > companies with, however, only a small presence in Japan. When agencies > pitched for their business, they were shown reels of exceptional work > produced by the agency's stars. Then, having chosen an agency, they > find that the stars are not assigned to their team, except, perhaps, > in a distant advisory role. If they ask why, the answer is clear. If > their budget is only a tenth of what their Japanese competitor is > spending and the stars are already committed to other projects, they > must work with teams composed of second or third-tier veterans or > newcomers who have not yet achieved a stellar reputation. The work > that they produce is often second-rate. > > Asked by foreign executives what they should do if they find > themselves in this situation, I suggested that they look at the > newcomer awards in advertising annuals and request that one or more of > these rising stars be assigned to their teams. Now, having studied > network analysis, I can offer another possibility. Identify successful > teams, i.e., those whose work is judged worthy of appearing in an > annual, then look for individuals who appear as members of several > different successful teams over a span of years, who have not yet won > a newcomer award. Since the usual practice in Japanese agencies is to > circulate new employees among several teams to broaden their > experience, these are likely to be highly competent people whose > careers are on the verge of taking off. > > The NetLogo Team Assembly model suggests another potentially useful > approach. The model is designed to relate creativity to one variable, > the relative proportions of incumbents (people who have worked > together before) and newcomers (people who have not worked together > before) assigned to teams. The underlying theory, which seems quite > plausible to me as far as it goes, is that either too many incumbents > or too many newcomers will reduce creativity. The same people doing > the same things will fall into ruts, while people who are thrown > together for the first time may never get their act together. There > will be, however, be some ratio (or range of ratios) of incumbents to > newcomers that maximizes creativity. Knowing that ratio would be good > for business. > > You know, and I know, that this model is too simple. But as George Box > famously said, while all models are wrong, some are more useful than > others. Here we can think about what we would have to add to the model > to make it more realistic. A great leap forward to a perfect solution > is unlikely; but it still might be possible to make some progress step > by step, by considering factors not yet included in the model. > > -- > John McCreery > The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN > Tel. +81-45-314-9324 > [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> > http://www.wordworks.jp/ > _____________________________________________________________________ > 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. -- Michel Grossetti LISST-Cers UTM 5 allées A. Machado 31058 Toulouse Cedex 09 http://w3.lisst.univ-tlse2.fr/cv/grossetti_michel.htm 05 61 50 36 69 _____________________________________________________________________ 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.