What is a social network analysis and why is it, in many ways, essential to organizational success?
Social network analysis is one way of identifying informal structures and their embedded social relationships. Such an analysis typically asks people to identify others whom they turn to for help most often, and with whom they communicate regularly, and who energize and de-energize them. 6 Social networks are then drawn with lines running from person to person according to frequency and type of relationship maintained. The result is an organizational map that shows how a lot of work really gets done in organizations, in contrast to the formal arrangements depicted on organization charts. This information is useful for redesigning the formal structure for better performance, and it also legitimates the informal networks people use in their daily work. Informal structures and social networks are in many ways essential to organizational success. This is especially true during times of change, when out-of-date formal structures may fail to provide the support people need to deal with new or unusual situations. Because it takes time to change or modify formal structures, the informal structure helps fill the void. The emergent and spontaneous relationships of informal structures allow people to make contacts with others who can help them get things done. Informal learning also takes place as people work and interact together throughout the workday. And, informal structures are sources of emotional support and friendship that satisfy important social needs.
Source: Management, 11th Edition & 12th Edition- John R. Schermerhorn