Social Network Analysis has spent alot of its evolution and development down in the weeds where the expert has been king. Crunching and analysing. Not surprising really. There are traps for young players in SNA and there is a clear role for someone like an expert to keep us clear of traps.
Eventually however, when the crunching and analysis has been worked through, which these days happens mostly through software, a delicate opportunity emerges to provide the visualisations and network maps to a group. A group of people such as senior leaders or managers, or even people from ‘the coal face’. Whomever, they are people who will then face the challenge of ‘making sense’ of the ‘data’.
Until now SNA as a field hasn’t had much to say about how groups can ‘make sense’ of social network maps. The sensemaking perspective has been missing. Maybe this is because, as I mentioned, there is a delicate opportunity to presenting network maps to groups. Delicate because social network maps contain very delicate information. People’s names. The opportunity is around moving beyond ‘the expert recommends’ and more towards ‘the group thinks’.
Whichever, as I discuss in our seminar, SNA sensemaking can provide a powerful way forward. A way to action.
About Andrew Rixon
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