Networks and behavior in organizations
Working in organizations implies first and foremost daily interaction among organizational members across all levels. This is especially the case for contemporary organizations that are required to deal with an increasingly complex business environment. The most recent technological advancements, economic trends and epidemiological events have brought to the fore the need for organizations to rethink their internal structures and systems, and move towards design approaches encouraging collaboration and interaction, innovation and creativity, autonomy and accountability. Understanding the practical implications of work-related interactions and social relationships among organizational members is the focus of this course.
Networks and Behavior in Organizations introduces the concepts and analytical tools needed for mapping, describing, and understanding social networks and individual behaviors in organizations. The course introduces participants to a relational view of organizations that complements a more traditional formal view articulated in other courses offered in the Master programme (e.g., Organizational Design and Change).
By the end of the course participants will be able to:
- Understand the importance of envisioning personal networks in organizations;
- Identify and interpret their main structural and compositional features;
- Understand how such features relate to a variety of core organizational processes (such as knowledge transfer and information diffusion), as well as individual outcomes and behaviors (such as job satisfaction and career progression).
Learning in Networks and Behavior in Organizations relies heavily on practical examples and hands-on computer sessions based on the analysis of real-life network data that illustrate the theoretical and analytical concepts introduced in the lectures. Participants will also be invited to reconstruct and analyse their own personal network.
Participants are expected to participate actively in the discussion and the activities proposed in each session (e.g., question sessions, exercises, case discussion).
The following freely available on-line textbook introduces many of the topics that we will be discussing in the course and serves as an extended guide to the software that we will be using throughout the course:
- Hanneman, R.A. and Riddle, M. 2005 (H&R) Introduction to social network methods. Riverside, CA: University of California, Riverside (published in digital form at: http://faculty.ucr.edu/~hanneman/nettext)
The UCINET Software (32 bit version) can be freely downloaded from the following website:
This is a PC software. It can run on Apple computers either in a windows partition (e.g., Bootcamp), or through emulation software (e.g., Fusion or Parallels), or under a compatibility layer such as, for example, Wine (https://www.winehq.org/). Additional information for Mac users may be found here:
https://sites.google.com/site/ucinetsoftware/download , and from this link, here:
Participants are responsible for downloading, installing and maintaining software resources on their own personal computers.
To get a general sense of the topics discussed in the course, perspective participants are invited to read the following article:
- Leonardi, P. and Contractor, N., 2018. Better people analytics. Harvard Business Review, 96(6), pp.70-81
Course work is assessed on the basis of one midterm test (30%), a final exam (60%), and class engagement (10%).
The midterm test lasts 45 minutes and involves a 15 multiple choice questions based on the lectures and material covered in class up to the test date.
The final exam lasts 90 minutes and involves a mixture of multiple choice questions and the analysis of a network. The final exam will be based on the readings and material covered over the whole course.
Resit exams, or exams that are - for any reason - sustained outside the Fall 23-24 exam session (January-February 2024), will account for 100% of the course grade.