Meetings as Networks: Applying Social Network Analysis to Team Interaction

Authors: Nils Christian Sauer & Simone Kauffeld (2013)

In recent decades, social network researchers have focused on analyzing networks of formal relationships (e.g., friendships). However, this work has yet to be applied to distributions of participation in small groups. This article provides an application of social network analysis to small group interaction and illustrates the approach through the analysis of 54 team meetings in two medium-sized German companies from the electrical and automotive supply industries (N = 332). Within a group interaction process, individual actions affect subsequent behavior, and their interactions shape a network when group members respond to previous actions. Their responses can be understood as network ties. We describe how to calculate centralization for all forms of small group interactions, and contribute to network research by providing insights into the interaction structure of team meetings. Multilevel analyses show that a group-level measure of centralization has a significant negative effect on team performance, whereas individual participation has no such effect. Implications for future research on interaction data via social network analysis are discussed.

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