San Diego … here we are. Today, the major conference in the field social network analysis (Sunbelt 2009) is commencing. Given the importance and vivacity of the field, it has become ‘a must’ in my annual schedule. This year I’ll be presenting a paper on Introduction of technological innovations through organizational social networks (together with Peter Baloh, FELU). Below is the abstract:
Innovation is one of the main drivers of firm performance in modern volatile business environments. This contribution relates incremental technological innovations and social network analysis. The research questions we ask, (1) what is typical for the central members in innovation advice networks and, (2) whether these people change with technological innovations introduced. By the term innovation advice networks we use name generators about the organizational members that coworkers turn to when in need of advice related to functioning of certain software. We explore the case of migration from Office 2003 to Office 2007 within a manufacturing company whose main business is engineering and production of prefabricated buildings. We will measure complete inter-personal innovation advice networks on two occasions. First, previous to introduction of new software and related training workshops and second, one month after the introduction. Through comparison of central members in first and second observation we will determine the rate of change in innovation advice network caused by technological innovation introduced. The methodology used is Exponential random graph modeling. Besides network data we will also collect demographic data on industry experience, educational level, tenure within the company, gender, age, hierarchical level, and decision-making role in order to determine some common traits of most central people. A set of in-depth interviews with key players in innovation advice networks will also be conducted in order to gain deeper insights about the nature of introduction of technological innovation.