an Organizational Network Analysis
Identify a strategically important group.
first step is to identify a group within the organization where investments
made to improve collaboration have the potential to yield a significant
payback either strategically or operationally. We typically look for
groups crossing functional, physical, hierarchical and organizational
lines because networks often fragment at these junctures.
Assess meaningful and actionable relationships.
second step is to identify relationships that will meaningfully reveal
a group's effectiveness as well as be actionable for managers once
results are disclosed. Most companies are keenly interested in work-related
collaboration. As a result, we almost always map information flow.
We can also look at relationships that reveal the information sharing
potential of a network, decision-making or power relations, or those
that reveal well-being and supportiveness in a network such as friendship
or trust networks.
network information can be obtained in a variety of ways, from tracking
e-mails to observing people over time. Often the most efficient means
is to administer a 10-20 minute survey designed to assess relationships
within and outside of a group.
Visually and quantitatively analyze results.
the data have been collected, it can be analyzed using a network software
package. There are a variety of different packages available, some
of which combine drawing functionality with quantitative analysis
and some of which specialize in one or the other. For more information
on visual assessment see the interpreting a network diagram section.
Create meaningful feedback sessions.
typically conduct feedback sessions in two phases. In the first half
of the workshop, we present an overview of network analysis to orient
the participants, and then provide a summary presentation highlighting
important points from the analysis of the specific group. The second
half of the workshop consists of breakout sessions with smaller groups
that brainstorm ways to promote appropriate connectivity and ensure
that organizational design, culture and leadership will not push the
network back to ineffective patterns. These subgroups then debrief
the larger group, and ideas are catalogued for action planning. In
this process, it is always important to focus on what can be done
to improve the effectiveness of the group. Rather than questioning
why someone or some department is peripheral or central, it is more
constructive to focus on how the organization can overcome unproductive
Assess progress and effectiveness.
an organizational analysis of a group indicates the level of connectivity
only at a specific point in time. Repeating this process after six
to nine months can reveal whether appropriate change has occurred
in the network. It is also a good idea to track objective measures
of performance over time.
Interpreting a Network Diagram