Monthly Archives: November 2008

Indian Attacks Carried Out by Armed Teams

Armed Teams Sowed Chaos With Precision – NYTimes.com
But from interviews with witnesses and survivors, it seems clear that the men on the boat were joining a larger terrorist force, which included some attackers who, unconfirmed local news reports say, had embedded themselves in Mumbai days before the attacks. Their synchronized assaults suggested a high level of training and preparation.

So I have a paper under review that argues that to understand terrorism as an organization, we have to see them as a blend of formal organization, social movement, and network.  This is an argument I want to refine.  The above passage about today’s tragic attacks captures the need to consider terrorism the result of formal organization and network.  A formal organization is necessary to deliver the training and operational sophistication of these attacks; a network allows them to move in and out of Mumbai, to recruit informants or new members.  To the extent that we discover that these terrorists are from an organization supported by the Pakistani intelligence agency, then the network lens helps us to see how nodes become activated on an as-needed basis allowing for loose elements to coalesce for momentary action.

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Filed under organization studies, organization theory, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks, Terrorism

Network Liabilities- Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk

The Reckoning – Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk – Series – NYTimes.com
But many Citigroup insiders say the bank’s risk managers never investigated deeply enough. Because of longstanding ties that clouded their judgment, the very people charged with overseeing deal makers eager to increase short-term earnings — and executives’ multimillion-dollar bonuses — failed to rein them in, these insiders say. [my emphasis]

This NY Times article points out that the normal risk management controls at Citigroup that should have reined in exposure to CDOs [collateralized debt…] were thrwarted.

By?

“ties that clouded judgment.”

I suppose that is a network liability.  Every organization is cris-crossed  with network ties.  The question is why these had such an impact.  Org Culture?  Greed?  Something structural in the network?  The technology of communication?

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Filed under Banking, Business, Social Networks

Paid to Destroy their Companies

The Wall Street Journal Online – Interactive Graphics

What is wrong with this picture?  What reasonable justification is there for thes ekinds of compensation packages?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Long Tail Debates

Wish I had more time now to review this:

Long Tail Stops Wagging.

Matt Stoller over at Open Left argues that this means that technoutopian libertarian dreams are dead and there is a necessary role for government.

Maybe.  I have never read enough of the Long Tail arguments to have a Strong opinion, but I do want to point out that there maybe radical inequality in revenues between a Google or Facebook and other web services that aim to make a profit.  In fact, a long tail is premised on that.  But, the question was whether a business can survive in the long tail, as opposed to have equal revenues.  If you have the head and not tail then you have an oligopoly which was never the merit of the long tail.

Finally, aggregators seem complicated.  They get a little revenue from a massive volume of transactions, but if those transactions are distributed to a number of smaller players (ebay, Amazon marketplace, emusic, and so on), then you may have a viable market where one did not exist before- again, it is about viability, not equality.

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Filed under digital culture, management, organization theory, technology

Terrorist Fist Bump Emoticon

Updated on Nov 20:

==@@==

or

==3E==

Are officially sanctioned emoticons.  Sanctioned by me.  :<p

–Original post–

As far as I know, invented this.  You read it hear first.

I proudly pronounce the 100% American terrorist fist bump.

–8 8–

Tips welcome.

UPDATED:

How about this:

–3 E–

See its two different fists.  And, it avoids the messiness of the ** thing.

Or,

–@ @–

That is Ok.  Looks like 2 roses also though.  Feel free to vote below.

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Filed under humor, Politics, Power, Activism

Brought tears to my eyes…

At the end of this long WaPo article on an 89 year old, Black member of the White House staff, and his wife who also worked there, came this absolute gut wrencher.

They talked about praying to help Barack Obama get to the White House. They’d go vote together. She’d lean on her cane with one hand, and on him with the other, while walking down to the precinct. And she’d get supper going afterward. They’d gone over their Election Day plans more than once.

“Imagine,” she said.

“That’s right,” he said.

On Monday Helene had a doctor’s appointment. Gene woke and nudged her once, then again. He shuffled around to her side of the bed. He nudged Helene again. He was all alone.

“I woke up and my wife didn’t,” he said later.

Some friends and family members rushed over. He wanted to make coffee. They had to shoo the butler out of the kitchen.

The lady whom he married 65 years ago will be buried today.

The butler cast his vote for Obama on Tuesday. He so missed telling his Helene about the black man bound for the Oval Office.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism

Amusing Caricature of Pop Social Scientists

This was emailed to me three years ago, and is very amusing.  Allan Friedman wrote posted it, but the link is dead, so I am posting here so it does not die.

http://allan.friedmans.org/mt/ (now dead link)

How pop social scientists order at a restaurant August 23, 2005

Not new, but an utterly brilliant piece from kottke.org needs to be shared. A group of made-for-mass-consumption social science books have been released over the past few years looking at decision-making processes. How would their authors order at a restaurant?

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Glance quickly at the menu and order whatever catches your eye first. Spend no more than 2-3 seconds deciding or the quality of your choice (and your meal) will decline.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The key to ordering a good meal in a restaurant is understanding the economic incentives involved. Ask the server what they recommend and order something else…they are probably trying to get you to order something with a high profit margin or a dish that the restaurant needs to get rid of before the chicken goes bad or something. Never order the second least expensive bottle of wine; it’s typically the one with the highest mark-up on the list (i.e. the worst deal).

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Take the menu and rip it into 4 or 5 pieces. Order from only one of the pieces, ignoring the choices on the rest of the menu. You will be happier with your meal.

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Poll the other patrons at the restaurant about what they’re having and order the most popular choices for yourself.

Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson

Order anything made with lots of butter, sugar, etc. Avoid salad or anything organic. A meal of all desserts may be appropriate. Or see if you can get the chef to make you a special dish like foie gras and bacon covered with butterscotch and hot fudge. Ideally, you will have brought a Super Sized McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal into the restaurant with you. Smoke and drink liberally.

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Filed under Books, humor, sociology

PhD in Social Network Analysis

Maybe there are former students out there who check up on me…

Anyway, here is the skinny on a PhD program staffed with some pretty big names (and nice people to boot!).

LINKS, the International Center for Research on Social Networks in Business at the University of Kentucky, has openings for students in our Ph.D. program in business administration, with an emphasis on organizational research from a social network perspective. The openings are for Fall 2009.

Our research emphasizes examining organizational behavior and strategy from a network perspective, and our faculty and students publish extensively in the major management journals. Students are trained to become faculty at research-intensive business schools worldwide. Network-oriented faculty include Steve Borgatti (theory & methodology; knowledge management); Daniel J. Brass (power, ethics, innovation, technology), Giuseppe “Joe” Labianca (conflict, group social capital), Ajay Mehra ( individual differences; performance), Ikenna Uzuegbunam (strategy and innovation management; entrepreneurship), and Leslie Vincent (marketing and innovation),

The application deadline is February 1, 2008, but early applications are encouraged for full consideration. Please visit http://gatton.uky.edu/Programs/PhDBA/ManagementArea.html and contact Ajay Mehra (ajaymehra1@gmail.com<mailto:ajaymehra1@gmail.com>) to learn more about our Ph.D. program.

Steve Borgatti, Chellgren Chair & Professor LINKS Center<http://linkscenter.org/> for network analysis of organizations Dept of Management, Gatton College of Business & Economics University of Kentucky 550 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40506-0034 Office tel: +1 859 257 2257, Mobile tel: +1 978 394 2787

Email: sborgatti@uky.edu<mailto:sborgatti@uky.edu>, steve.borgatti@gmail.com<mailto:steve.borgatti@gmail.com

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Filed under higher education, organization studies, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks