No man is an island and no organization a cohesive body

Whenever you bring together a group of people a network of varying social relations appears. Daenerys loves Jon Snow but distrusts his sister Sansa, who shares Daenerys’ preference for Jon and has mutual distrust of the Mother of Dragons. What is Jon to do, trapped in between two feuding personally close persons?

Every workplace also consists of numerous people who share enmities and likings. While usually workplace politics neither result with people dead nor with broken hearts there is a good reason to map your organization’s social network, much as you do in your head when watching Game of Thrones or the Bold and the Beautiful. Humans are by nature social animals whose ancestors’ survival required the ability to work in groups and detect hostile forces. The success of a modern organization is conditional on how well its members work together.

What you should know about Fingertip

Fingertip is a comprehensive digital tool for social decision making and project management. It leaves behind a plethora of digital footprints about people’s work and their mutual relations. Thus Fingertip is a perfect tool for finding out your organization’s social network map.

Fingertip allows for a multitude of relations between people and objects. People can mention each other in chatter posts, work on same projects in a similar role, and create decisions and involve others in various roles. All these different relations can be explored and mapped.

In this post I will concentrate on two different networks: one of chatter mentions, in which a directed relation between two persons is created when person A mentions person B in his/her post, the other of authority relations in which a relation is created when person A involves person B in his/her decision as a Responsible or as a Consulted. All data comes from year 2019.

Before we delve into the network plots, a couple words are required to explain Fingertip as an organization. Fingertip is a young Finnish start-up with a small core team in Helsinki and a sister organization in India. This creates a natural dispersion in connections between people due to geographic distances.

Social networks from Chatter mentions

Let’s first look at the social network of chatter mentions. In the network a connection between nodes is created only after a minimum of 20 mentions to make the usual routes of communication more discernible. In the bottom of the plot we can see a tightly knit group of 7 nodes with heavy communication between all nodes with a number of other nodes lurking close by with connections to at least couple nodes in the core group.

In the upper portion we have a less active and less tightly knit group whose connections to the core group go through a couple bridge nodes. Finally, there are some lone nodes dispersed around the map with a relation to only one node and specifically towards them, i.e. they get mentioned by single person. This implies a hierarchical relationship in which a person is directing others to commit tasks. This network plot gives us a handy view on how communication flows in within Fingertip.

Social networks from decision roles

How do the relationships between Fingertippers look like when we focus on decisions and whom the Accountables involve as Responsibles and Consulteds in them? Well, the first thing we note that there are way more nodes involved now. This implies that many people partake in decision’s but don’t actively communicate on chatter.

It is more difficult to locate a clear locus of action. In the upper corner we notice a single person involving a bunch of lonely nodes in his or her decisions. The node in question is likely a team leader of sorts who acts as a bridge between the more interconnected core and the rest. In the lower corner and in the sides we also have a bunch of nodes who get involved in decisions of one or two Fingertippers. From this map we can see how people work together and who involves whom in their decisions.

The network maps above give a sense of the inner dynamics of Fingertip. Putting names on the nodes gives us a pretty clear view of what happens in the company in the realm of inter-person connections. It gives us a good guidance on how to improve the dynamics of the company and cope with the challenges involved in being split in two geographic locations. In larger organizations it can be easily used to map how different teams and departments interact or whether they remain distinct silos with little information flowing between them. Fingertip is a very powerful tool if you are interested in how your organization works together!

Read the previous installments on our scientific blog series:

Is 9-to-5 a thing of the past? When are we most productive.
What’s in a word? Indicators of task completion
Why good decisions get implemented
Too many cooks spoils the decision?

Lasse Winter is the leading Data Scientist at Fingertip with a background in social sciences and a specific interest in text analytics. He is passionate about gaining exciting insights from data. During his free time Lasse loves sports and reading, with a specific passion for football.

Fingertip is an online decision-focused business management solution designed to substantially improve efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment in large complex organizations in the digital age.

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