Random thoughts on networks and communications from a MACT student

Archive for the tag “Kadushin”

Are we being watched?

We are supposed to be living in a democratic country, but are we really?   “From YouTube to Twitter, Ottawa heard it all during the G20  and the (Un)lawful Access: wiring the Network for Control articles say otherwise. I was shocked to read these articles and realize how much control the government has.  The overall message is that all our devices are a “tracking” device.

This leads us  back to Kadushin’s chapter on organizations and networks which I blogged about “Organizations are not Democratic!”.  Top management are not “voted” in and employeess do not work in a democratic environment.

As I work for the municipal government, I get direction from my director and sometimes from city councillor.  Yes, I have autonomy but really the final decision comes down to the “leaders”.   For example I lead the community support program.  We are unable to support all the requests so some applicants have to be  turned away.  Some of these applicants choose to go “higher up” the heirarchy chain and then the application gets returned back to me with basically  a message that says to support this group.

Another example within organizations that ties back to these articles is the blocks on social media sites.  Some of the reasons I have heard is that employees will spend too much time on these sites and not get any work down or we are unable to control the messages regarding the organizations.


Organizations are not Democratic!

Kadushin chapter on organizations and networks was an interesting read.   The topic that had me thinking the entire chapter and still thinking is organizations are not democratic.  Yes, should be common sense but I have never veiwed an organization as this way.  Here is my random thoughts and hope you can follow my thought process!

How many times have you heard or thought yourself, “How did that manager/supervisor get hired for this position?”.  In my case,  some were not qualified and some just did not have a “likeable” personality.  Some leaders are hired into a position of authority but some leaders “design” their position. By this I mean that someone will buy a business, which automtatically defaults them to being a “leader” even though they may no experience on leading.

Could organizations be democratic? Employees could vote on who they think the leader should be.  It could be similiar to the current political elections.  Managers would have to debate their platform to the employees, employees would vote who they think the best candidate would be.   My personal opinion on my example would be in theory it could work but realistically it would not work. The potential issues would be employees voting for their friends, time constraints, and people voting for their personal needs not what is best for the organization as a whole.

Then I thought of comparing what the process is in municipal, provincial, and federal elections?   I am assuming that people vote for what is in the best interest of their community/city, province, and country but do they actually vote according to their own personal interests?  And how many vote without knowing what the candidates platforms are?  So these issues are in political elections as well so maybe it could work for organizations. One argument could be the financial implications of voting in the wrong leader in an organization but of course this is true in elections as well.

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.

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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