Monday, February 27, 2006

Social Network Analysis in VARC Design

One of the problems we run into when working in complex silos is that connections between people, data resources, and analytical needs are not always obvious. It's also the case that solutions to important policy problems often run at odds with the bureaucratic structure. Social Network Analysis can provide a window into the non-obvious paths within (and between) organizations.

The following questions are typical of a network survey done as a diagnostic:
  • To whom do you typically turn to for help in thinking through a new or challenging problem at work?
  • To whom are you likely to turn to in order to discuss a new or innovative idea?
  • To whom do you typically give work-related information?
  • To whom do you turn to for input prior to making an important decision?
  • Who do you feel has contributed to your professional growth and development?
  • Who do you trust to keep your best interests in mind?
The answers can be used build a network understanding of the organization that gives a very different picture of how people get things done outside traditional pathways. It can also show barriers that are not apparent within silos.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's been some work on social networking within school settings on and off. Ken Frank at U of MI is particularly active. One example of how he uses sociograms to understand information flow and teacher collegiality (or lack of it) appears on his page,