From Atomism to Networks in Social Systems

“Informal networks provide a critical mechanism for learning and knowledge transfer in organisations. The growth of methods and tools to understand social networks suffer from a variety of issues related to the formalisation of natural processes, some of which are fatal to their sustained use as means of understanding the interactions between individuals.

It is argued such tools are useful if we (i) switch the unit of analysis from the atomism of individuals to the coalescence of identities and (ii) use non-Jungian archetypes as a representation to reveal difference perceptions of learning and knowledge exchanges within organisations. Moving beyond analysis a new technique, social network stimulation is explored which aims to stimulate the formulation of cross silo informal communities, and reduce the degrees of separation, based on trusted exchange, to the point where the need for formal management of knowledge and learning is minimised?

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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