Corporate Social Networks

Watch how email flows, and you will be able to deduce who the hubs (power and communication centres) in an organisation are. That is the conclusion of research done by HP researchers, according to

Researchers Joshua Tyler, Dennis Wilkinson and Bernardo Huberman studied e-mails sent between any two of the 485 workers at Hewlett-Packard labs over a two-month period, examining 185,773 relevant e-mails in the process.

The researchers said graphing e-mail flow not only correctly identified communities within the organization, but it also provided insight into who the leaders of those groups were. It also helped to identify informal communities that arise when people need to communicate across departments or work collaboratively on projects. What’s more, it took just a few hours to analyze the data and identify the groups and their leaders, the study said.

“The power of this method for identifying communities and leadership is in its automation,” the researchers wrote. “We have found that it does an effective job of uncovering communities of practice with nothing more than e-mail log (“to:” and “from:”) data.”

Here is a link to their paper.


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.