Advertisement

Social Network Research

  • Janet C. LongEmail author
  • Simon Bishop
Reference work entry

Abstract

Analysis of networks is increasingly seen as important for understanding the patterns, processes, and consequences of social relationships in healthcare. Networks can be formal, mandated structures (e.g., a clinical network), can emerge from sharing a common passion, or can be from routine exchanges such as referrals. Braithwaite and colleagues (2009) call for the fostering of naturally emerging networks suggesting these underpin the delivery of healthcare and play an important role in driving quality and safety. Social network analysis (SNA) emphasizes patterns of relationships and interactions between network members (actors) rather than individual attributes/behaviors or abstract social structures. SNA conceptualizes networks as composed of nodes (the actors in the group) and ties (the relationship between the actors). Ties form the structure of the network, and the nodes occupy positions within that structure. This proves a basis to investigate a wide range of issues, including communication pathways between actors (including gaps, bottlenecks, or opportunities to increase connectivity), the presence of “tribes” or silos, key players, networks of social support, and patterns of social influences on behaviors. This also allows researchers to investigate relationships between network structures (e.g., communication flows) and important outcomes (e.g., rapid dissemination of ideas). In this chapter, we will introduce readers to key debates, concepts, methods, and applications of SNA, drawing on the authors’ own studies and the growing body of healthcare literature adopting this approach. This demonstrates the contribution of SNA to understanding different types of networks, including at the individual, group, and organizational level.

Keywords

Interprofessional relationships Collaboration Connectivity Brokerage Knowledge exchange 

References

  1. Allen TJ. Communication networks in R & D labs. R & D Manag. 1970;1:14–21.Google Scholar
  2. Ansell C, Reckhow S, Kelly A. How to reform a reform coalition: outreach, agenda expansion, and brokerage in Urban School Reform. Policy Stud J. 2009;37(4):717–43.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0072.2009.00332.x.Google Scholar
  3. Apelrouth S, Edles L. Classical and contemporary sociological theory: text and readings. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  4. Ayyalasomayajula B, Wiebe N, Hemmelgarn BR, Bello A, Manns B, Klarenbach S, Tonelli M. A novel technique to optimize facility locations of new nephrology services for remote areas. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011;6(9):2157–64.  https://doi.org/10.2215/CJN.01820211.Google Scholar
  5. Balkundi P, Barsness Z, Michael JH. Unlocking the influence of leadership network structures on team conflict and viability. Small Group Res. 2009;40(3):301–22.Google Scholar
  6. Benham-Hutchins MM, Effken JA. Multiprofessional patterns and methods of communication during patient handoffs. Int J Med Inform. 2010;79(4):252–67.Google Scholar
  7. Bercovitz J, Feldman M. The mechanisms of collaboration in inventive teams: composition, social networks, and geography. Res Policy. 2011;40(1):81–93.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2010.09.008.Google Scholar
  8. Bishop S, Waring J. Discovering healthcare professional-practice networks: the added value of qualitative SNA. Qual Res Organ Manag Int J. 2012;7(3):308–22.  https://doi.org/10.1108/17465641211279770.Google Scholar
  9. Borgatti SP, Everett MG, Johnson JC. Analyzing social networks. Thousand Oaks: SAGE; 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Borgatti SP, Foster PC. The network paradigm in organizational research: a review and typology. J Manag. 2003;29(6):991–1013.  https://doi.org/10.1016/s0149-2063_03_00087-4.Google Scholar
  11. Borgatti SP, Mehra A, Brass DJ, Labianca G. Network analysis in the social sciences. Science. 2009;323(5916):892–5.Google Scholar
  12. Borgatti SP. Identifying sets of key players in a social network. Comput Math Organ Theory. 2006;12:21.Google Scholar
  13. Braithwaite J, Runciman WB, Merry AF. Towards safer, better healthcare: harnessing the natural properties of complex sociotechnical systems. Qual Saf Health Care. 2009;18(1):37–41.Google Scholar
  14. Buchanan M. Nexus: small worlds and the groundbreaking science of networks. New York: WW Norton; 2003.Google Scholar
  15. Burt RS. Bridge decay. Soc Networks. 2002;24(4):333–63.Google Scholar
  16. Burt RS. Brokerage and closure: an introduction to social capital. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  17. Burt RS. Structural holes: the social structure of competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  18. Butler D. Crossing the valley of death. Nature. 2008;453:840–2.Google Scholar
  19. Carmi S, Havlin S, Kirkpatrick S, Shavitt Y, Shir E. A model of Internet topology using k-shell decomposition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007;104(27):11150–4.Google Scholar
  20. Chan B, Reeve E, Matthews S, Carroll P, Long JC, Held F, ⋯ Hilmer SN. Medicine information exchange networks among health care professionals and prescribing in geriatric medicine wards. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2016;83(6):1185–96.  https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.13222.Google Scholar
  21. Chen Y-D, Chen H, King C-C. Social network analysis for contact tracing. In: Castillo-Chavez C, Chen H, Lober WB, Thurmond M, Zeng D, editors. Infectious disease informatics and biosurveillance: research, systems and case studies. Boston: Springer US; 2011. p. 339–58.Google Scholar
  22. Creswick N, Westbrook JI, Braithwaite J. Understanding communication networks in the emergency department. BMC Health Serv Res. 2009;9:247.Google Scholar
  23. Cross R, Prusak L. The people who make organizations go – or stop. Harv Bus Rev. 2002;80:105–12.Google Scholar
  24. Cunningham FC, Ranmuthugala G, Plumb J, Georgiou A, Westbrook JI, Braithwaite J. Health professional networks as a vector for improving healthcare quality and safety: a systematic review. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012;21(3):239–49.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000187.Google Scholar
  25. Currie G, Waring J, Finn R. The limits of knowledge management for UK Public Services modernization: the case of patient safety and service quality. Public Administration. 2008;86(2):363–85.Google Scholar
  26. Durkheim E. Les Règles de la Méthode Sociologique. Paris: Revue philosophique; 1895.Google Scholar
  27. Fattore G, Frosini F, Salvatore D, Tozzi V. Social network analysis in primary care: the impact of interactions on prescribing behaviour. Health Policy. 2009;92(2–3):141–8.Google Scholar
  28. Freeman LC. Network representations. In: Freeman LC, White DR, Romney AK, editors. Research methods in social network analysis. Fairfax, Virginia: George Mason University; 1989.Google Scholar
  29. Freeman LC. The development of social network analysis: a study in the sociology of science. Vancouver: Empirical Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  30. Fuller J, Kelly B, Sartore G, Fragar L, Tonna A, Pollard G, Hazell T. Use of social network analysis to describe service links for farmers’ mental health. Aust J Rural Health. 2007;15(2):99–106.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2007.00861.x.Google Scholar
  31. Gifford D, Holloway R, Frankel M, Albright C, Meyerson R, Griggs R, et al. Improving adherence to dementia guidelines through education and opinion leaders. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:237–46.Google Scholar
  32. Gladwell M. The tipping point: how little thing can make a big difference. New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company; 2000.Google Scholar
  33. Goldblatt EM, Lee W-H. From bench to bedside: the growing use of translational research in cancer medicine. Am J Transl Res. 2010;2(1):1–18.Google Scholar
  34. Gould RV, Fernandez RM. Structures of mediation: a formal approach to brokerage in transaction networks. Sociol Methodol. 1989;19:89–126.Google Scholar
  35. Granovetter M. The strength of weak ties. Am J Sociol. 1973;78:1360–80.Google Scholar
  36. Grimshaw J, Eccles M, Greener J, Maclennan G, Ibbotson T, Kahan J, Sullivan F. Is the involvement of opinion leaders in the implementation of research findings a feasible strategy? Implement Sci. 2006;1:3.Google Scholar
  37. Haines M, Brown B, Craig J, D’Este C, Elliott E, Klineberg E, . . . Research Group, C. N. Determinants of successful clinical networks: the conceptual framework and study protocol. Implement Sci. 2012;7(1):16.Google Scholar
  38. Hargadon A, Sutton RI. Technology brokering and innovation in a product development firm. Adm Sci Q. 1997;42(4):716–49.Google Scholar
  39. Heng HKS, McGeorge WD, Loosemore M. Beyond strategy: exploring the brokerage role of facilities manager in hospitals. J Health Organ Manag. 2005;19(1):16–31.Google Scholar
  40. Howse EL. Factors that motivate hospital nurse middle managers to share knowledge related to boundary spanning roles. Ph.D., University of Toronto (Canada). 2005. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cin20&AN=2009283278&site=ehost-live.
  41. Johnson JC, Boster JS, Palinkas LA. Social roles and the evolution of networks in extreme and isolated environments. J Math Sociol. 2003;27(2–3):89–121.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00222500305890.Google Scholar
  42. Kalish Y. Bridging in social networks: who are the people in structural holes and why are they there? Asian J Soc Psychol. 2008;11(1):53–66.Google Scholar
  43. Khosla N, Marsteller JA, Hsu YJ, Elliott DL. Analysing collaboration among HIV agencies through combining network theory and relational coordination. Soc Sci Med. 2016;150:85–94.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.12.006.Google Scholar
  44. Kravitz RL, Krackhardt D, Melnikow J, Franz CE, Gilbert WM, Zach A, ⋯ Romano PS. Networked for change? Identifying obstetric opinion leaders and assessing their opinions on caesarean delivery. Soc Sci Med. 2003;57(12):2423–34.Google Scholar
  45. Lambright KT, Mischen PA, Laramee CB. Building trust in public and nonprofit networks: personal, dyadic, and third-party influences. Am Rev Public Adm. 2010;40(1):64–82.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0275074008329426.Google Scholar
  46. Lin H, He N, Ding Y, Qiu D, Zhu W, Liu X, ⋯ Detels R. Tracing sexual contacts of HIV-infected individuals in a rural prefecture, Eastern China. BMC Public Health. 2012;12(1):533.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-533.
  47. Long JC, Cunningham FC, Braithwaite J. Network structure and the role of key players in a translational cancer research network: a study protocol. BMJ Open. 2012;2(3):e001434.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001434.Google Scholar
  48. Long JC, Cunningham FC, Carswell P, Braithwaite J. Who are the key players in a new translational research network? BMC Health Serv Res. 2013a;13:338.  https://doi.org/10.1186/10.1186/1472-6963-13-338.Google Scholar
  49. Long JC, Cunningham FC, Wiley J, Carswell P, Braithwaite J. Leadership in complex networks: the importance of network position and strategic action in a translational cancer research network. Implement Sci. 2013b;8:122.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-8-122.Google Scholar
  50. Long LC, Cunningham FC, Braithwaite J. Bridges, brokers and boundary spanners in collaborative networks: a systematic review. BMC Health Serv Res. 2013c;13(1).Google Scholar
  51. Long JC, Cunningham FC, Carswell P, Braithwaite J. Patterns of collaboration in complex networks: the example of a translational research network. BMC Health Serv Res. 2014;14(1):225.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-14-225.Google Scholar
  52. Long JC, Hibbert P, Braithwaite J. Structuring successful collaboration: a longitudinal social network analysis of a translational research network. Implement Sci. 2016;11:19.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-016-0381-y.Google Scholar
  53. Long JC, McDermott S. Social Network analysis of a Dementia translational research network. 2017; unpublished dataGoogle Scholar
  54. Lower T, Fragar L, Depcynzksi J, Fuller J, Challinor K, Williams W. Social network analysis for farmers’ hearing services in a rural community. Aust J Prim Health. 2010;13(1):47–51.Google Scholar
  55. Luce RD, Perry A. A method of matrix analysis of group structure. Psychometrika. 1949;14(2):95–116.Google Scholar
  56. Meltzer D, Chung J, Khalili P, Marlow E, Arora V, Schumock G, Burt R. Exploring the use of social network methods in designing healthcare quality improvement teams. Soc Sci Med. 2010;71(6):1119–30.Google Scholar
  57. Montoya JM, Solé RV. Small world patterns in food webs. J Theor Biol. 2002;214(3):405–12.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jtbi.2001.2460.Google Scholar
  58. Moreno JL, Jennings HH. Who shall survive? A new approach to the problem of human interrelations. Washington, DC: Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co; 1934.Google Scholar
  59. Morita S, Oshio KI, Osana Y, Funabashi Y, Oka K, Kawamura K. Geometrical structure of the neuronal network of Caenorhabditis elegans. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications 2001;298(3–4):553–561.Google Scholar
  60. Nasiruzzaman A. Complex network framework based comparative study of power grid centrality measures. Int J Electr Comput Eng. 2013;3(4):543.Google Scholar
  61. Obstfeld D. Social networks, the tertius iungens orientation, and involvement in innovation. Adm Sci Q. 2005;50:100–30.Google Scholar
  62. Putnam R. Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. J Democr. 1995;6(1):65–78.Google Scholar
  63. Rogers E. Diffusion of innovations. 4th ed. New York: Free Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  64. Ryan DP, Puri M, Liu BA. Comparing patient and provider perceptions of home- and community-based services: social network analysis as a service integration metric. Home Health Care Serv Q. 2013;32(2):92–105.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01621424.2013.779352.Google Scholar
  65. Rycroft-Malone J, Wilkinson J, Burton C, Andrews G, Ariss S, Baker R, ⋯ Thompson C. Implementing health research through academic and clinical partnerships: a realistic evaluation of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). Implement Sci. 2011;6(1):74.Google Scholar
  66. Schwartz K, Vilquin J-T. Building the translational highway: toward new partnerships between academia and the private sector. Nat Med. 2003;9(5):493–5.Google Scholar
  67. Scott J. Social network analysis: a handbook. 2nd ed. London: Sage; 2000.Google Scholar
  68. Shi W, Markoczy L, Dess GG. The role of middle management in the strategy process: group affiliation, structural holes, and tertius iungens. J Manag. 2009;35(6):1453–80.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206309346338.Google Scholar
  69. Simmel G. The sociology of Georg Simmel (trans: Wolff KH). New York: Free Press; 1950.Google Scholar
  70. Susskind A, Odom-Reed P, Viccari A. Team leaders and team members in interorganizational networks: an examination of structural holes and performance. Commun Res. 2011;38(5):613–33.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650210380867.Google Scholar
  71. Travers J, Milgram S. An experimental study of a small world problem. Sociometry. 1969;32(4):425–43.Google Scholar
  72. Tushman ML. Special boundary roles in the innovation process. Adm Sci Q. 1977;22(4):587–605.Google Scholar
  73. Uzzi B. Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: the paradox of embeddedness. Adm Sci Q. 1997;42(1):35–67.Google Scholar
  74. Valente T, Fujimoto K. Bridging: locating critical connectors in a network. Soc Networks. 2010;23:212–20.Google Scholar
  75. Valente T, Pumpuang P. Identifying opinion leaders to promote behavior change. Health Educ Behav. 2007;34(6):881–96.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198106297855.Google Scholar
  76. Valente T. Opinion leader interventions in social networks. Br Med J. 2006;333(7578):1082–3.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39042.435984.43.Google Scholar
  77. Waring JJ. A qualitative study of the intra-hospital variations in incident reporting. International J Quality in Health Care. 2004;16(5):347–352.Google Scholar
  78. Wasserman S, Faust K. Social network analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1994.Google Scholar
  79. Wasserman S, Scott J, Carrington PJ. Introduction. In: Carrington PJ, Scott J, Wasserman S, editors. Models and methods in social network analysis. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press; 2005Google Scholar
  80. Watts DJ, Strogatz SH. Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks. Nature. 1998;393(6684):440–2.Google Scholar
  81. Wenger E, McDermott R, Snyder WM. Cultivating communities of practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  82. Woolf SH. The meaning of translational research and why it matters. JAMA. 2008;299(2):211–3.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2007.26.Google Scholar
  83. Zerhouni EA. Translational and clinical science: time for a new vision. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(15):1621–3.  https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMsb053723.Google Scholar
  84. Zhang J, Lin X, Fu G, Sai L, Chen H, Yang J, ⋯ Yuan Z. Mapping the small-world properties of brain networks in deception with functional near-infrared spectroscopy. 2016;6:25297.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep25297.
  85. Zheng K, Padman R, Krackhardt D, Johnson MP, Diamond HS. Social networks and physician adoption of electronic health records: insights from an empirical study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2010;17(3):328–36.  https://doi.org/10.1136/jamia.2009.000877.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Institute of Health InnovationMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Health Innovation, Leadership and LearningNottingham University Business SchoolNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations