Category Archives: Social Networks

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Banking, Business, Social Networks

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

2 Comments

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

Research ideas for Six Degrees Students

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, alternative media, as well as books and scholars.

For a few of you, I had specific ideas and those are at the end.  So read through to the end. If I did not comment on your specifically all it means is that your topics are either covered below, or, I don’t have any special suggestions.

General Ideas

The FIRST place for everyone to start if they are basing their paper on a topic in Six Degrees or Tipping point is to look at the references in the back of each book.  Watts provides a guide to different topics, and Gladwell has notes with references.

Also, you can get a one on one appointment with BU librarian once you have your topic.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

You are welcome to search my blog.  You can search or simply use the tag cloud to clickt hough to a set of posts.

Also, I use a social bookmarking service called del.icio.us.com. Basically it is like a big scrapbook of links I collect.  You are welcome to look there for any tags that match your research keywords.

http://delicious.com/jordisunshine

Click on “all tags” on the left to see my tag taxonomy.  For example, Jen mentioned technology and the presidential election in her topics.  I have a politics tag, and when you click on that, you can see what are “related” tags to narrow it down.  Politics+ technology has three links. One of those, to a book called “Netroots Rising” might be useful.

How to use blogs I recommend: browse them.  Use them to identify key ideas.  Use them to look for book, or article suggestions from more reliable sources (scholarly journals, mainstream press).

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

□ Look for social psychology on the impact of groups or roles

How social network affects a company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How breakthroughs happen…

Mob Mentality or “Wisdom of Crowds”

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

Internet and Society

Pew Research Center on Internet and American life

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greenspan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)

□   Planet Money Blog

□   Big picture blog

□   Brad DeLong Blog

Fanatic communities

MeetUp

Org theory post

Size of communities (Rule of 150)

□    Gore-Tex maker

□   More on Gore

□   Another article.

□   Leaderless organization

Advertising and Marketing

Changes that the internet has brought about

Viral garden blog

□   Any search on word of mouth or viral marketing

□   Paradox of Choice.

General blogs on organizations, networks, and sociology: Search them for your topics.

Orgtheory http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/

Complexity

Connectedness

Visiblepath

Jen:

About politics and technology.  The Dean campaign of 2004, and also the Bush Campaign of 2004, started the use of web 2.0 technologies as political organizing tools.  I think this book could be useful.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594514852

Will:

It would be interesting to look at the distribution of hit records over time.  In other words, what proportion of records sold are just a few?  Were the Beatles bigger superstars than a recent “big act” measured as % of all record sales?  How has shift to consuming songs as downloads changed that perception?  Are there fewer superstars now?  What does that mean for music as a business and as a cultural activity?

Charlie:

About diseases: it would be interesting to compare biological and social factors in contagiousness of diseases.

Jeff G:

In terms of channel capacity and music: this reminds me of research now on the cognitive structure of experts vs amateurs.  An expert musician can distinguish more than 7 tones, I think.   What is the evidence that we can increase channel capacity?

Kayla

I am not sure what the best search term for outside-in emotion is.

Emma:

You can do a special kind of search called a cited reference search with a database called Web of Science.  Basically, it tells you who cited a work.  You could look at original article “The Strength of Weak Ties” and see what more current research is saying.  The reference librarians can show you how to do that kind of search.  There will be thousands of articles, so you will need to use narrowing terms.

1 Comment

Filed under Business, economics, innovation, organization theory, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, Social Networks, sociology

On-line reputation(another media inquiry)

I got _another_ media inquiry.

Summary: How does on-line reputation matter?  What can you do if your reputation is being trashed?

Hmmm. It is interesting how many of these queries seem to be “how-to.”  There is the famous case of the Facebook suicide, but such stories do more to illustrate our fears than capture the reality of most people most of the time.  My first thought to protect your reputation is to have a reputation worth protecting.

You might ask Greta Polites and Eric Santanen also.  (In my department.)

I have this book and have not read it but it seems relevant.

http://www.wordofmouthbook.com/

It must be possible to spend a lot of time surveilling   one’s on-line profile.  “Google myself” is a verb and a state of mind.  How is the “me” I know being seen in cyberspace?  But I think if you obsess about it, it says more about you than the world.  Judging by the generally low level of negative feedback on eBay transactions, or in Amazon ratings, or in other open reputation systems (by open, I mean where any user can comment on an identifiable user).  As opposed to the Hobbesian dog eat dog world we often imagine, when we look at most interactions, even on-line, it is kind of boring in the sense that most people are OK and not trying to cheat others for gain or trash them for a sick kind of fun.  There are of course a few exceptions.

For those times when you are worried about how you are being presented, I would think about the audience before reacting.  If an employer or consulting prospect is concerned or I think they can see negative comments, offer up your own list of recommenders for them to contact directly.  Offer several.  This would mean more than written letters.  If the negativity comes from anonymous systems, you can delicately point out that such attacks are not very reputable and cowardly.  On systems like LinkedIn, have people who will speak on your behalf noted so that a prospective contact can link to them easily.  Include contacts form multiple jobs over your career.  If those people are not on, take this moment to be a technology maven and encourage them to sign up.

5 Comments

Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Society, participatory technology, Social Networks, technology, writing

Networks and jobs

It is always interesting to me how much people like the “strength of weak ties” argument.  It is so familiar to me, I forget how powerful it can be.  I mentioned it in my Bucknell “new faculty” profile, and ended up getting a media request from an on-line columnist.

I may not have given her the “five hot tips” for job hunting she wanted (of course, if they were so hot, why would I give them away, or why would she?), but it was fun to try and riff for a few minutes on netcentric insights.

Here is what I said:

I can give you a few insights from my background studying social networks.

Most people assume that they will get the most support from those closest to them: family and long time friends. This is true for one kind of social capital: the strong ties that make us feel safe and foster healthy self-confidence. However, weak ties, old school mates, friends of friends, former co-workers and the like, are valuable for a differ reason: they are far more likely to be have information different from yours due to the fact that your strong ties tend to be linked to each other, whereas each of your weak ties is unlikely to be linked to your other weak ties. Research has shown that job seekers, especially younger ones, attain employment through the information gleaned from weak ties.

At the same time, networks are two way streets. People can sense and will avoid a “network jerk.” Even though some companies, like Amway, try to marketize pre-existing relations, most of us prefer that community and friendship ties and not just a façade to get to something valuable. I tell my students, in short, that you have to be a real person and grow your networks and relationships for the sake of the relationships.

LinkedIn or other SNS can simplify or accelerate existing social processes. Just as people in real networks rely on signals to determine how much they like a new contact, signals like their credential, who they know, how they present themselves, so too in virtual networks powered by web 2.0 software. In virtual networks, employers or HR mangers will develop ways to “read” the candidate through their profile. In fact, the speed and ease of linking in SNS can have a perverse effect for job seekers. If I am an employer looking for employees, I want to avoid a deluge of inappropriate applicants. If it is too easy to find or link to me in a virtual network like facebook, then I will limit accessibility. If I saw a recent grad with 200-300 contacts in LinkedIn, I would be skeptical that these were real and relevant contacts and not just the result of excessive “friending.”

Here are some more resources you may find useful:

http://nevereatalone.typepad.com/

Getting a Job (by author of original weak ties work): http://books.google.com/books?id=2xgEIBTTdVUC

Recent work that includes gender in questions of networks and careers: http://knowledge.insead.edu/contents/Ibarra.cfm

1 Comment

Filed under Media, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, technology

Soc Net Books to Explore

Charles Kadushin sent out an email awhile ago asking for reviewers for Social Networks.  i would love to see the network folks sink their teeth into the explosion of general audience/practitioner books out there.

he listed the following at the time as possibilities:

Social Networks and Marketing, by Christophe Van den Bulte and Stefan Wuyts, Marketing Science Institute, 2007.

Andy Sernovitz and Guy Kawasaki, Word of Mouth Marketing: How smart companies get people talking. Kaplan Publishing, 2006 Mark Hughes, Buzz Marketing, Penguin 2006 Dave Balter and John Butman, Grapevine: the new art of word-of-mouth marketing. Penguin 2005.

Add Seth Godin’s Tribes: We need you to Lead us (2008) to the list.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, management, Marketing, Social Networks

“The Coolest Desire”

The Jetpack – From Comics to a Liftoff in the Yard – NYTimes.com
“There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. He called it “about the coolest desire left to mankind.”

I have a running joke with the guys at dads’Night about when our jetpacks will be invented.  Guess they have.

On a research note, the article mentions he has been working on this for twenty years and has a “network of collaborators.”  But his passionate (maniacal?) devotion is on par with other inventors.  And no overt military tie-in.  He is from new zealand, afterall.

3 Comments

Filed under innovation, Social Networks, technology

WOW and SNA

Stumbled into a paper of networks of players, guilds in World of WarCraft [WOW].  Visual complexity had the image.

U Mich researchers map PVE interactions.

U Mich researchers map PVE interactions.

This led to a paper that is worth looking at to see how they extracted the data for the network analysis.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Network Visuals, Research, Social Networks, virtual worlds

Indirect Social Influence

SOCIOLOGY: Indirect Social Influence — Denrell 321 (5885): 47 — Science
To learn more about these mechanisms, we need to broaden studies of social influence and belief formation to include the phases of learning and information collection that precede decision-making and judgment.

The above quotation from Science summarizes a brief yet interesting overview of how indirect influence matters.  The gist is that the exposure I have to infomration, as a result of my network connections or position, can bias my “rational” decision-making.  Its not that we are all weak-willed lemmings who do what the joneses do, it s that in the face of difficult to find information, we may rely on information gathered through netwokr ties to make decisions.  And by separating network effects into direct influence on disposition and indirect influence though information gathering, we can better analyze influence.

Fine.  Seems a bit of a round-about way to get there, but I suspect it makes network effects more palatable to economists or game-theory types.

Leave a comment

Filed under economics, Research, Social Networks, sociology

Social Networks gains another level of salience

While over at socnet, there is a discussion of how “social networks” has become totally co-opted and stolen by the rise of the social networking sites/services (MySpace, Facebook, Okrut, LinkedIn, etc), i stumbled on to the new HP TouchSmart computer marketing campaign.  By the way, the author of the post above, Guy Hagen, is totally correct that social networks are as old as the species while SNS are, well, younger.

(I wonder what is the first SNS?  Orkut?  Tribe.net? It would be nice to have a brief history of SNS.  What would minimal definition be?  Profiles+relationship building+messaging system… Is that enough?)

The HP touchSmart, which looks pretty cool, bills itself as the one machine that will enable you to manage your digital life.  “It puts your digital life at your fingertips giving you instant access to info, entertainment, and social networks.”  So, not only has social networks as a term become a whole genre of applications, but even a class of functions like photography, word processing, or data management.

Leave a comment

Filed under Future of Technology, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, words