With efforts to de-layer organizations and reduce functional boundaries, coordination increasingly occurs through networks of informal relations rather than channels tightly prescribed by formal reporting structures or detailed work processes. However, while organizations are moving to network forms through joint ventures, alliances, and other collaborative relationships, executives generally pay little attention to assessing and supporting informal networks within their own organizations. Social network analysis is a valuable means of facilitating collaboration in strategically important groups such as top leadership networks, strategic business units, new product development teams, communities of practice, joint ventures, and mergers. By making informal networks visible, social network analysis helps managers systematically assess and support strategically important collaboration.
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