Applications of network theory to social systems (Englisch)

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In recent years, the concept of networking has emerged in both the physical and social sense. In particular, the rapid growth of microprocessing has enabled many communication networks to develop; from the global teleconferencing networks to the interdepartmental type of system for microcomputers. Similarly, social networks in the form of nonhierarchical but dedicated groups of people have multiplied enormously during the past decade. The collective drive of individuals now influences the way we are governed at both international and local levels. The paper examines the general characteristics of networks and the factors which influence their stability. Particular attention is given to the idea of ‘coupling strength’ and ‘connectivity’ between elements of a network. Examples drawn from social networks in management and politics indicate some of the possibilities for social analysis given the rapid rise in microcomputing power now available to all.

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