Improved collaboration by organizational network analysis

This is an example of the power of organizational network analysis. The analysis has been done at a production company with 7 locations. Their main location is HQ, they have a dedicated R&D location and 5 production locations. Production locations A2 and B2 are located abroad, but in the same country.

Questions from the central management team in HQ:

  1. Can we be aware of what’s going on in all production locations?
  2. Is R&D well connected in the organization?
  3. Production B3 and B2 produce the same products, are they learning from each other?

We conducted a social network analysis based on knowledge retrieval and work coordination parameters. The resulting image (above) has been grouped per location and anonymized for publication. The connecting lines between locations scale with the intensity of the connection (wider is more intense collaboration) and are colored by the location they originate from. Production B3 is connected to Production A1 but not the other way around.

Based on the results and analysis the following has been concluded. All ideas of HQ about production were based on what’s happening at Production B3. The same goes for R&D, which is not connected to A1 and A2. Production B3 and B2 are almost disconnected, no real learning is suspected to happen there. Locations B2 and A2 were almost exclusively connected by 3 gate-keepers. Conclusions of this organizational network analysis have been tested and verified in conversations with the employees. Combined with the analysis this gave the appropriate starting points for improvement.

The organization set forth to reduce the, too intense, relationship of HQ to Production B3; strenghten and build the existing connection between B3 and B2; reduce the reliance on gate-keepers to connect B2 and A2. HR and project planning were involved in reaching these goals by integrating them in their work activities.

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