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John, all,
 
Can you say some more about teams as multiplex/multimodal networks modeled in a way that confers dynamical activity.  And what beyond known multiplex dynamic models may be fertile and necessary to understand teams and other groups.
 
Regards,   James Hollander
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: John McCreery <[log in to unmask]>
To: SOCNET <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Oct 6, 2014 7:28 pm
Subject: Re: [SOCNET] Is social network analysis chemistry without molecules?


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Kerstin, Emanuela,


Thanks to you and to everyone else who is pitching in and continuing this conversation. Here I would like to return to the key term in my initial question, "Is social network analysis like chemistry without molecules?" That key term is "molecules."	
	


	
	
	


	
	
	
Why molecules? Why not thermodynamics or autocatalysis? These, too, are important ideas. They do not, however, directly address the issue that brought me to molecules, that so much of social life these days involves teams, and teams are not simply cliques of otherwise similar individuals who happen to like each other, share information, spread new ideas or diseases, engaging in the sorts of processes that network analysis models so well. 
	
	
	


	
	
	
Teams are 
	
	
	


	
	
	
				
						
like molecules composed of different elements: Teams are constructed of individuals chosen because they are different; they bring to the team some combination of a distinct skills, talents, temperaments. Anyone who has ever formed a band, cast a play, or engaged in team sports should instantly know what I'm talking about.
						
like molecules whose properties depend on specific combinations of elements: Teams are assembled deliberately to produce the right mix of people to cover all the necessary roles. The baseball team that needs a new pitcher doesn't go looking for a new right fielder. The band that needs a drummer doesn't' add a saxophonist. The play that needs an Ophelia doesn't cast a second Hamlet. 
						
like molecules that only form if the right elements are available: Those who assemble teams not only know the kinds of individuals they want. They know that their choices are subject to availability and affected by competition with other teams. Your first draft pick may not be the one you get, if someone else picks her first. 
						
like molecules that only form and display desired properties under specific environmental conditions, which often require complex processes to achieve particular results. Recruiting a team is just the beginning. Then come training, practice, rehearsal, "team-building" exercises, and finally performances that require specific facilities, playing fields, studios, theaters, concert halls, night clubs, etc.
				
We know that human beings are not simply elements. Unlike chemical elements they grow and change over time. For the moment, however, let's stop here and consider what an agent based model would look like if it tried to address some of the "molecular" issues sketched above.		
	
	
	


	
	
	
It might start out like the NetLogo Team Assembly model, where agents are only differentiated as newcomers, incumbents or moribund. But then it would have to consider the space of projects that require differently structured teams and may, thus, be of different sizes. An example from my own data is the difference between teams that produce TV commercials (avg. size 10) and teams that product print ads (avg. size 5). It would have to start with a population of agents differentiated by talents/expertise (copywriters, art directors, producers, cinematographers, stylsts, for example) in which the skill sets are unevenly distributed. It would also have to account for institutional constraints on agent behavior (agency employee, production company employee, freelancer). More could be added, but let's stop here. There is already too much to do. But these considerations should suffice to explain why molecules are on my mind as I look for scientific analogies to push my thinking in new directions.

Sent from my iPad

On 2014/10/06, at 21:14, Kerstin Sailer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****              Emanuela and John (and all),
      I'm following the debate with interest and Emanuela's description      has just led me to think a bit more about the 'context'. I'm      researching the spatial settings in which actors pursue      relationships within organizations (for instance see:      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378873311000323      and http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1426232/) and it strikes me that      considering the context could actually enhance the idea of      networks as chemistry. In chemistry, you don't only need certain      atoms or molecules to be co-present in order for a chemical      reaction to take place, but you also need the right surroundings      (e.g. temperature, pressure, etc). So I would argue that (physical) space is one of      those context variables that shape how humans interact.
      Keep us posted, John, this is really interesting!
      Best,
      Kerstin
      
      
      
        
On 06/10/2014 10:17,      [log in to unmask] wrote:
    
    
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John            (and colleagues),
        
My            small contribution to this discussion is that            
        
…            on the ‘Model …. Muddle’ Continuum of networks, which John            so          eloquently            described in previous e-mails, we face            
        
the            ‘Context’ of social interactions as moderating variable,            which is another ‘Model … Muddle’ problem to articulate,            where the context is shaped by            
        
the            ‘Content’ of the interactions between our actors=molecules            (another ‘Model … Muddle’ problem), and the content of            relationships and exchanges itself is shaped by
        
the            ‘Actors Attributes’ (another ‘Model … Muddle’ problem – i.e.            which attributes are enacted at what time period … what            context … and what content outcomes have impact on the            motifs and preferences of these actors=molecules).
        
 
        
My            humble attempt to focus on these recursive relationships is            at            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1468903&download=yes                        
        
 
        
Best            wishes
        
Emanuela
        
 
        
Dr. Emanuela Todeva
            Senior Lecturer in Strategy and International Business
        
BCNED - Business Clusters, Networks and            Economic Development
            http://www.surrey.ac.uk/bcned
            Surrey Business School - 64MS03
            University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU27XH, UK
            e-mail: [log in to unmask]
            tel: +44(0)1483 68 2056
        
View            my research at:            http://ssrn.com/author=1124332
        
梦雪
        
 
        
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum            [mailto:[log in to unmask]]            On Behalf Of John McCreery
            Sent: 03 October 2014 02:43
            To: [log in to unmask]
            Subject: Re: Is social network analysis chemistry            without molecules?
        
 
        
***** 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
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Dr Kerstin Sailer
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Space Syntax Laboratory
The Bartlett School of Architecture
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