Informal Networks and Economics of Social Ties

Corporate anthropologist, Karen Stephenson (publications), explains how understanding and supporting informal networks of trust can help organizations to become more innovative.

“Our social networks are growing all the time. Can we assume that there is untapped economic potential that lies within them?” asks Roland Harwood.

Few excerpts:” British anthropologist Robin Dunbar has shown us that people can only maintain up to around 150 strong relationships at any one time however we all have many more weak relationships (which probably also has an upper limit but it’s certainly a lot larger number). I find social networks like facebook and twitter most interesting for the people I don’t yet know that well – for the weak relationships. I get an insight into those people‚Äôs lives and how their mind works and get to know them a bit better….. a) you may learn something about them that might be of use at a later date i.e.

scientific thesis

they are an expert in a field you need to know about b) it eases the social lubricant when you next see them as you have more material to draw upon to build the relationship e.g. I saw the photo’s of your recent fishing trip on facebook…Within the next 5 years we tend to create value not on the basis of our knowledge, but on the basis of how we can leverage our relationships or social networks to capitalise on the information that we all have access to….The more connected you are, the more options and opportunities you have, and that has social, cultural and economic value.”

Why I blog this: Informal networks may be part of my future research (see the proposal which has caught a lot of attention). Plus, we extensively research and cover social networks.

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