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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."


"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 :
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> 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]>
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Michel Grossetti
5 allées A. Machado
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