This course focuses on the conceptual and analytical tools that define the field of social network analysis in organizations. The course starts by introducing the basic theoretical and conceptual background of social network research, the fundamental ideas of a network approach, and discusses its many domains of empirical application. The course then proceeds to examine the basic analytical concepts needed to describe and understand the structure of social networks across various levels of analysis. Some of the main areas discussed include network data collection and visualization, community detection, and statistical testing of network hypotheses. Substantive topics covered include how networks affect attitudes, preferences and behavior of people in organizations.
By the end of the course, students will acquire the basic skills needed to map out networks of social, economic and communication relations, diagnose features of networks that might help or hinder individual or team performance, and be able to recognize and describe the main features of network structure.
Class time is allocated equally to methodological and substantive issues, with each substantive topic tied to specific analytical strategies. The course consists in a mix of lectures, hands-on computer exercises, and interactive examples based on the analysis of real-life relational data. In the computer laboratories, the emphasis will be on the analysis of social networks in structured social and economic settings such as, for example, business companies, and other formal organizations.
The final grade is calculated according to the following weighting scheme: Final exam: 50% (in class, closed book); Midterm exam: 30% (in lab, closed book); Homework: 20% (at home).
The recommended text for this course is: Borgatti, S.P., Everett, M.G., and Johnson, C.J. 2013. Analyzing Social Networks. Sage Publications.
Free online resources
The course is potentially open to all students at USI. However, students enrolled in faculties other than Economics need will written permission from instructors before the beginning of the course.