The Changing Paradigm of Organisational Network Analysis

November 30, 202012:24 pm791 views
The Changing Paradigm of Organisational Network Analysis
Image source: Pixabay

The current technologies, that are widely used by organisations to help them with employee productivity and performance, are enabling new ways of measuring and managing networked organisations. People analytics solutions, which serve to quantify the activities and attitudes of the workforce, have proliferated the world of work over the past few years to help organise the tremendous amounts of data that workforce technologies generate as well as to derive insights from that data. 

Organisational network analysis (ONA)  

Organisational network analysis is a subset capability of people analytics solutions, seeks to quantify the countless relationships between individuals within an organisation and describe how information flows among organisational groups. 

Deloitte analysis mentioned that as organisations adopt ONA to supplement traditional and transaction based metrics, business leaders, including HR, will drive strategy in new ways. For example, instead of focusing insights derived from ONA solely on understanding and optimizing current networks, leaders will use the insights to intentionally design new organisational networks, activating expert communities and sparking human interactions. 

See also: HR System: How to Get Organisational Members on Board

Shaking up operating models  

Traditional operating models are typically plagued by functional boundaries and siloed behaviour. These models are often too rigid to keep up with the dynamism and complexity required for nonroutine contexts such as continuous innovation and personalisation. In order to create more agile and innovative teams, formal organisation charts should be supplemented and overlaid with network governance. Borrowing from open-source software development, organisational network governance incorporates informal but intentional social systems (as opposed to bureaucratic structures) to provide adaptability, coordination, and safety in pursuit of community and innovation. Network governance offers the context and conditions for interaction, coordination, and exchange all critical for agile, effective teams without formal job descriptions, reporting lines, or responsibility matrices that can hinder creativity and flexibility. 

Business leaders looking to architect their organisation of the future will intentionally shift their mindsets from ‘sticks and boxes’ to ‘nodes and edges’ and incorporate network governance into increasingly team-oriented operating models. These shifts confirm that individuals within the organisation need to be seen as belonging to multiple teams within the structure. Leaders might start this transition by redesigning work and shaping incentives to foster collaboration and collective outcomes and by prioritising the interactions that enable these outcomes.

Easing the pain of change  

Like innovation and personalisation, change management is notoriously difficult. Nobody likes change but this difficulty presents an opportunity. Using ONA, leaders can empower themselves to identify influencers at all levels in their organisation and begin to map how emotions can spread from person to person in groups experiencing change. Understanding emotional contagion can create opportunities for business leaders to activate and connect these influencers to form coalitions, build consensus, and, ultimately, transform culture. As a result, business leaders will intentionally design and activate networks to govern and direct positive emotional contagions while mitigating negative ones, fostering sustainable business transformation and cultural change.

Read also: How to Improve Organisational Capabilities