Organizational Network Analysis
Putting the "Who" in Your How
An organization is inherently a collaborative endeavor consisting of many indivi-duals who communicate and coordinate day-to-day, moment to moment, each with his or her specific functions, responsibilities and needs. Over time, these activities evolve into an informal social network.
This network is your corporate culture in operation – the heartbeat of your organization. Its smooth day-to-day functioning – its ability to perform essential tasks while detecting and responding to threats and opportunities – is vital to your success. It is what maintains your organization's equilibrium, and the means by which your work gets carried out.
Yet, as vital as it is, this employee network is normally invisible. Its collaborative patterns, established through countless email exchanges, phone calls, conversations or meetings, cannot be observed directly. And what you cannot see, you cannot act upon.
Today, we have a way to make the invisible visible. It is called Organizational Network Analysis (ONA), and it has become one of the most powerful tools available to corporate leaders seeking to effect positive organizational change.
ONA visually maps and describes your internal network, revealing the collaborative patterns that govern information flow, influence, problem-solving, innovation and decision-making. For leaders, this is a tremendous eye opener. It enables them to see what actually goes on inside the organization, diagnose problems and opportunities, and stimulate innovation and performance.
Here are just some of the many ways in which network analysis can play a vital role:
by revealing where gaps in your employee network are undermining performance.
by pinpointing your key influencers so that you can enlist them to drive employee alignment, boost performance or streamline the adoption of change initiatives.
by enabling you to enhance both project and process efficiency.
by helping you capitalize on the full knowledge bank within your workforce.
by identifying and bridging strategically important disconnects between functional units.
Thanks to organizational network analysis, you now have a lens through which to observe your corporate culture in operation, and the tools to connect individual efforts and organizational action in order to drive performance and efficiency.
In application, network analysis is simple to administer:
We begin by conferring with you to understand the circumstances you seek to address, identify desired outcomes, and establish the objectives for the project.
From there, we design a simple questionnaire that reveals with whom and how often employees communicate or collaborate regarding the topic at hand.
This data is then analyzed by computer to produce a visual network map along with related statistics. Among other things, the map reveals who groups with whom, who links groups together, who wields what types of influence and who your important information brokers are. It also assesses the overall performance of the network and pinpoints where intervention is needed to strengthen performance.
Armed with this output, we confer once again with you to interpret the findings and guide you in developing strategies that will enable you to make the most effective use of what you have learned and meet your stated objectives.
A useful network map can be generated with as few as 30 employees, on up. It can incorporate not only your employees, but can, if desired show key connections to important outside stakeholders. It also can be incorporated with more traditional employee performance or engagement surveys for extended value.
Network analysis gives leaders a real-time, hands-on level of control over the actual functioning of the organization unlike anything they have ever experienced before. It fosters higher employee morale by bringing corporate policies and practices into better alignment with the natural functioning of the informal network. It is gradually transforming the way that leaders approach their corporate culture and effectively manage their human resources.
If you feel that organizational network analysis can play a role in addressing a particular issue or initiative, or simply would like to know more about this fascinating technique, please contact us for a free consultation.