Affecting Change Through Organizational Network Analysis



Affecting Change through organizational network analysis is an academic style white paper discussing the ways by which change management practices can be improved using organizational network analysis to identify central actors in an organizational network. The paper was originally produced for the Human Alliance Ltd. clients and provides some use cases, as well as background information on the analytical tool. The paper was originally published on October of 2011, and received widespread praise by a number of government and defense contractors.



Traditional change management theories’ purpose is to provide sustainable change for organizations that allows them to face the challenges of their environments. However, once theory is applied to real world situations, it generally fails in being able to accomplish its goals of successful and effective change.

With the large majority of change initiatives ending in failure, social scientists and business practitioners are in need of more effective theories and applications that allow for the precise management and execution of successful change. Social Network Analysis (SNA) provides the change practitioner with the ability to map the organization and see its hidden structure. The hidden structure is composed of communication connections between the members of the organization.

Conducting a network analysis to uncover those connections allows us to elicit many insights that improve the practitioners’ ability to create, promote, and develop successful change initiatives. The communication structure and content found by conducting a social network analysis can also uncover organizational culture, trust, authority, inefficiency, collaboration, innovation and many others important organizational dynamics that are essential to successful change.

Thus, SNA/ONA is a powerful tool that should be used to greatly improve the practitioners’ ability to change their organizations. Finally, in some studies network metrics outperformed human capital metrics in the prediction of employee high performance, which provides some evidence that SNA can be a powerful tool in day-to-day operational activities as well.

Keywords: Change, management, organizational network analysis, social network analysis, network perspective, hidden networks, ONA, SNA, human capital, metrics, human resources


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