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Social Network Theory

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Denny Yang

on 30 April 2015

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Transcript of Social Network Theory

What is a network?
Types of ties
who talks to whom, or who gives information or advice to whom
who is spatially or electronically close to whom
Types of ties
who reports to whom
Types of ties
Social Network Theory
Presented by:
who likes whom,
or who trusts whom
Types of ties
Types of ties
Material or Work Flow
who gives money or other resources to whom
who knows who knows whom
Types of ties
A social network consists of a set of actors ("nodes") and relations ("ties" or "edges") between these actors.
Types of ties
family and friends
Types of ties
The construct of group has two primary meanings:

1) A structural feature of a network

2) An exogenously determined or imposed category
How is a group defined from the social network perspective?
Groups or Cliques
are subsets of fully connected, or almost fully connected, nodes within some population
Groups defined
An exogenously determined category or boundary around a set of people.
political party
students in a class
Groups defined
Why people create, maintain, dissolve, and possibly reconstitute ties?

Who is likely to form ties with whom?
Theoretical roots of the network perspective
Theories of self-interest
Theories of self-interest
Theories of social exchange or dependency
Theories of mutual or collective interest
Cognitive theories
Theories of homophily
Mutual or collective interest
Mutual interests and the possibility of benefits from coordinated action often outweigh individual self-interests.
Mutual or collective interest
Public goods theory
developed to explain the economics of collective versus private ownership of material infrastructure such as parks, bridges, and tunnels.
Theories of homophily
Members are more likely to create communication ties with other group members who they deem to be similar.
Node-connection points (people, organizations, etc.)
Ties-Relationships between nodes.

Measuring Networks
Degree Centrality
Between Centrality
Closeness Centrality
Core Principles of Network Perspective
Group Activity
1. Behavior is best predicted by seeing web of relationships.
Core Principles of Network Perspective
2. Focus on the relationships between units
Core Principles of Network Perspective
3. Groups are Relationship based
Core Principles of Network Perspective
4. Information and Resources depend on relationships to everyone else.
Core Principles of Network Perspective
5. Groups are built on a network of overlapping ties.
Theories of Social Exchange
Relationships that exchange valuable resources. Sustenance depends on payoff for each party.
Theories of Cognition
Theory of Transactive Memory
Networks analyze skills of others around them, then helps with flow of knowledge. Then everyone will understand what's going on.
Theories of Cognition
Theory of Cognitive Consistency
Analyzing who likes who. Friends who get along with your friends will have a more satisfied platform.
The ties within a social network can determine whether or not those within them are successful
An example of this can be seen in the business world
Businesses with strong ties, that incorporate trust, tend to do better than businesses with weak ties
Companies can use the social network theory to their advantage
A Business Perspective
6 Degrees of Separation
A telecommunications company is looking to find a successor for its' retiring CEO
An Example
The CEO and the 3 people who work directly beneath him
Diane, Joe and Stan
Each person has connections throughout the network that vary in strength
Key Players
Measuring Networks
Diane: Information Giver
Key channel for flow of information ("hub")
Poor social ties
Strong social bond with CEO
Not respected or knowledgeable
"Pulse checker"
Moderately well connected
Strong in career network
Weak connection with CEO
Strengths & Weaknesses
Helps a business grow
Increase job productivity
CEO chose Joe due to their strong social tie
Diane left the firm because she had felt under-appreciated and thought that she deserved the position
Joe lacked the knowledge and connections to make an effective CEO
Eventually Joe was dismissed by the board and replaced with Stan
Some profit was recouped
CEO chose Joe due to their strong social tie
Diane left the firm because she had felt under-appreciated and thought that she deserved the position
Joe lacked the knowledge and connections to make an effective CEO
Eventually Joe was dismissed by the board and replaced with Stan
Some profit was recouped
Network Theory Clip - TEDEd
Lets identify some of the ties that exists in different settings.

Ties within a Religious Setting
Within the church, there are several noticeable ties (specifically internal)

Formal Ties - power distance

Communication Ties - gives information

Networks are multiplex; actors share more than type of tie
Material and work flow ties - donations
Proximity ties - neighbors or sits next to
Affective ties -

Applying Homophily in Religious Groups
Same faith

Connects to mostly individuals within their own setting

Religious groups is structured like many standard groups
Shared identity, norms, practices, and expectations

Ties are strengthened with religious similarities

Group Context

How everything is connected and how it works in a group.

Large systems (many nodes) central nodes can be overwhelmed with communications
Weak Ties
Weak ties can work as bridges connecting closely knit groups of strong ties to other tight groups
Strong Ties
The decision making of a network are influenced by the strong ties in a group.
Strong Ties
Similar people tend to form strong ties
Social Network Theory
SNT offers an explanation for how random people are connected.
Viral Phenomena
Provides insight into viral phenomena, such as viral content, the spread of diseases like swine flu, ebola, AIDS, etc.
Commitments to religious practices (e.g. attending church) and stronger ties with individuals of the group actually increase one’s likeliness to receive spiritual support, and emotional support

Not the same can be said about weaker ties and commitments

Social and religious body

Strong Social Ties with African American churches
Strong communities with a shared set of beliefs, values, and identity

Empowerment from institutions
Civil Rights

Example: Ethnicity
Asian Americans
Korean Americans
Case Study
Hmong Americans
Korean American Students
There have been several studies related to examining how social networking are connected to Korean American students' academic achievements
Jamie Lew (2006)
Identity negotiation
Sharing identities with peers who are part of other social networks
Internal Network Ties
External Ties
Relationship with key players in their environment

Members who uses their external relationships to access resources are called boundary spanners
valuable source of information
Internal vs. External Communication Patterns
Studies show that in work groups, group who practices decentralized (distributed) communication patterns outperformed more centralized groups

The results of others found that there is no relationship between a team's external ties and their performances

In other words, it depends on the nature of the task (if it requires external ties or not)
Stressed groups and low complexity tasks
Multi-unit businesses
inter-unit exchanges of resources and info

Cliques – The unity of the group is disrupted and thus communication starts to break down. These internal divisions between subgroups may weaken the whole project at hand.
Studies showed stressed out groups suffered were more prone to have a more centralized form of communication
Group Activity
Task: Create a sociogram involving each of the 6 social network ties described below about a hypothetical company. The relationship ties, or “story”, will be made up by your individual group.

Tie types

GREEN- who talks to whom, or who gives information or advice to whom

BLUE– who reports to whom

RED– who likes whom, or who gives information or advice to whom

Material or work flow

YELLOW– who gives money or other resources to whom

ORANGE– who is spatially or electronically close to whom

PURPLE– who knows who knows whom

Remember, networks are typically multiplex, that is actors share more than one type of tie as well as actors will share the same tie with multiple people across an organization

Theories of self-interest
Social capital
the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.
The theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
Denny's Internal Work Network

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Internal ties between members may impair group performance by dividing and weakening group structure
exclusive cliques
Recent Categories of Social Networking
in Work Groups
Internal Ties

External Ties


Table of Content
1. Introduction

2. Discussion of the Group's
Processes and Strategies

3. Interaction(s) with Community Members

4. Challenges

5. Q&A
Full transcript