The Power of Social Networks

Social network analysis (SNA) has been around for quite awhile, but is enjoying new prominence due to the rise in popularity of social media. Keith S. Swenson wrote an interesting article in the April issue of Talent Management magazine that discusses SNA as it relates to organizational performance. In his closing paragraph, Swenson writes:

SNA helps detect productivity leaks, knowledge gaps and bottlenecks. It can affirm the best, the worst and the so-so. It points out the gaps between desired and achieved performance, and it helps organizations make research-based decisions about what to create, copy or cut. It can be the foundation on which organization are designed, leaders are developed, relationships are nurtured and processes are changed.

Conducting SNA requires effort, but can offer significant reward to organizations grappling with issues like knowledge management and communities of practice. I recommend reading the full article, which can be downloaded as a pdf from TM’s site for a modest fee. Note that, starting in May 2009, the publisher, Human Capital Media, is offering an online edition of the magazine.

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