This explication is a guided compilation of key components and conceptual frameworks exploring the communication structure for Social Network Analysis (SNA). The theory of social networks is important to the interdisciplinary study of communication as it provides a roadmap from which to understand why and how creating and advancing organizational connectivity within business, medical, and social environments is beneficial. Within this explication is an overall depiction of various methods used for measuring and analyzing data beyond the metrics of numbers and graph theory.
Beginning with a briefing of Social Network Analysis, the concept of structure within a social network, maps and measures the connectivity with and between people or groups of people as a way to visualize simple and complex webs of how knowledge can be shared. A dimension of knowledge share, or flow of knowledge, explored within this text is the act of collaboration. A reoccurring element of a desire to take a collaborative approach to social involvement within relationships became evident from this sampling of research.
Research conducted for this explication came from a host of authors ranging from theory based works to recent studies. Authors discussed within this paper share many of the same conclusions that Social Network Analysis is being studied in a relatively new light (that what once looked at characteristics of individuals in interaction and strictly used methods for quantifying and mapping numbers of relations, to a newer way of mapping types and meanings of relations within the connectivity of individuals in relation) and there is room for much more research on this topic. Following the synthesis of expert research is a critique on the theory and developing paradigm in which Social Network Analysis can be found. Finally, a working definition of the communication structure based within the boundaries of Social Network Analysis will be provided and can be used in future works.
The conceptualization of communication structure within social networks bounces back and forth between quantifying numbers of relationships and qualifying types of relationships. Key components of structure can be studied from the theory level of Social Network Analysis. It is within the theory that the structure is realized. Communication structure of network concepts described by Wasserman and Faust (1994) that can be visually mapped include:
Actor/Node/Point/Agent: single or group entities within organizations.
Tie/Link/Edge/Line/Arc: indicates the relationships between individuals and groups.
Dyad: comprised of two individuals and the relationships between them.
Triad: comprised of three individuals and the relationships between them.
Subgroup: a separate and whole group of individuals the relationships between them.
Group: a compilation of all individuals from which relationships are to be mapped.
Relation: a compilation of a particular kind of relationships within...