Random thoughts on networks and communications from a MACT student

Kadushin view on Small Groups, Leadership, and Social Networks

 My personal opinions on Kadushin concepts, theories on Small Groups, Leadership, and Social Network:

1. Do not agree that there are “pure” systems.  I don’t think there are any pure systems. Network’s extend outside of the “network box”.

2. Leadership: How are informal leaders determined?  In addtion to people choosing a leader, do some leaders choose themselves to be in that role?  If an informal leader is not respected by all group members is this a “true” leader?

Summary of the concepts and theories  and definitions for COMM 506 presentation

Small Networks:

everyone knows each other

actions of the members of the networks are visible to all

are individual people rather than collective actors

Small Groups

are the “primitives” of social network analysis

How and why small groups are formed

Motivation to establish rankings (safety, effectance, status)

Defining the boundaries using balance theory and triads

Why are small groups important to analyze?

 Small group networks will be used to compare  the informal small groups with the formal systems of organizations.

Formal System or External System:

Primary and face-to-face groups in which relationships are recommended by the organization.

Primary Group: interactive unit that is observed by an outsider

Example: Experiments

Informal System or Internal System:

  • Small “formal” groups develop clusters or cliques
  • The cliques are formed by ties and common sentiments
  • These “informal groups” develop or reinforce certain common ideas or styles of relating to one another
  • Cliques will naturally form a ranking system.
  • The “informal” leaders are those who rank the highest and are the most “preferred” because they enforce the “norms” of the group.

Homans’s lists eight propositions but they do not differentiate between the external and internal systems as the informal system is embedded within the external system. 

Kadushin states these systems need to be differentiated by finding informal systems that are “pure”.

Homan: interaction leads to sentiment, and in turn to interaction, and in turn to a ranking system with leaders”.

Pure Informal Systems

  • “Network in a box” or where boundaries are very clear.
  • Everyone in network can “see” everyone.
  • Relationships are likely to be symmetrical

How to locate Pure Informal Systems

Use empirical tests of the sociological concept of group:

  • Triadic balance theory (if all three relations are positive or if two are negative and one is positive)
  • Granovetter’s concept of weak and strong ties
  •           G transitive (two people are strongly connected but the third is weakly tied to the other two)
  •           Pure informal groups are rare so this method has been not used often

As pure informal systems are rare most informal systems are embedded in the formal system. This leads to evaluating the asymmetric ties and the influences of the external system.

  • Kadushin states that “individual  interactions and motivations are components of Homans’s sentiments”
  • The three key reasons, as discussed in chapter five, why people are motivated to interact is 1. safety or affiliation 2. Effectance and 3. Seek status or rank.
  • People differ in the strength of these motivations so the shape of the system is not entirely dependent on the external system or the dynamics of interaction

Formalizing the System

The advantage is to create conclusions which are based on Gould’s mathematical formulation using attachments received, social influence, and actor quality.

The propositions are:

  1. Asymmetry: is proportion to the differences in ranking
  2. Asymmetry declines with group size
  3. Actor who are similar with respect to quality get similar choices from similar others and , consequently, direct similar choices to these others
  4. Since actors direct choices to others in proportion to those received, actors with the highest number of choices received are also those with the highest degree of interaction directed toward others.




What are Small Networks and Small Groups?

Differences between Formal Systems and Informal Systems?

What are Pure Informal Systems?

How to Locate Pure Informal Systems?

Asymmetric Ties and the Influences of the External system?

Why Formalize the System?

Discussion Questions……

Printing Press and Internet Impacts on Social Networks

Today’s discussion on the WEB 2.0 and the semantic web was an interesting class discussion.  Last year I blogged of how the printing press and the internet impacted social relationships.

“During the Middle Ages a high percentage of people were illiterate as education was for the wealthy people only. The printing press gave the common people the opportunity to learn as well. This elevated the common people’s status which changed social relationships. Common people now had opinions so they were able to interact with people in a different class or amongst their own social class.

The publishing of books eventually created a standardized language so now people could communicate in the same language which also increased social interaction. Anyone could publish their ideas in books, newspapers or magazines which increased equality, which led to different social classes interacting.

Gutenberg’s printing press inspired others to create presses and eventually books, magazines and newspapers were accessible and affordable to buy by common people due to supply and demand. The printing press continued to evolve and other technologies evolved over the next few centuries. Nothing was comparable to the creation of the printing press until the Internet in the mid-20th century.

The internet has been around since 1969 so it is difficult to imagine that in 1994 the majority of the people still did not know what the internet was. Current “Today” show host, Matt Lauer, aired the below Youtube video on when 1994 Today’s hosts were asking what was the internet. Matt commented, “It’s easy to laugh now, but we all felt that way. It was a mystery to all of us”. Today, the internet is part of everyone’s day to day life activities. The internet is the main source of how we interact with others. Matt’s comments are true so this is why I think it is important to remember the history of the internet and what would we do without it?” (personal communication, April 2, 2011)   

More on this can be found at:

Thoughts on Kadushin Network Segmentation (Chapter 4) COMM 506

In Kadushin opening paragragh on network segmentation, he writes,”…in principle the entire world is connected as a network. True enough, but not practical”.  He writes there are boundaries and in order to effectively analyze network theory is to seperate the networks into smaller meaningful segments.

The tables and figures for the most part were helpful in understanding the different network segmentation.  I did not understand the adjaceny matrix on page 51.  Hopefully someone will be able to explain this in Wednesday’s class!

The figure on page 49 of the Karate Club Members network was interesting as it shows how the one NODE 1 (karate teacher) has connected so many people.  It proves the power of networks and raised my interest for my personal and work networks.   How many people may are connected because of my connection?

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