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Object oriented modeling of social networks


The aim of this paper is to explain principles of object oriented modeling in the scope of modeling dynamic social networks. As such, the approach of object oriented modeling is advocated within the field of organizational research that focuses on networks.

We provide a brief introduction into the field of social networks and present an overview of existing network models and methods. Subsequently we introduce an elementary problem field in the social sciences in general, and in studies of organizational change and design in particular: the micro-macro link. We argue that the most appropriate way to hadle this problem is the principle of methodological individualism. For social network analysis, to contribute to this theoretical perspective, it should include an individual choice mechanism and become more dynamically oriented. Subsequently, object oriented modeling is advocated as a tool to meet these requirements for social network analysis. We show that characteristics of social systems that are emphasized in the methodological individualistic approach have their direct equivalences in object oriented models. The link between the micro level where actors act, and the macro level where phenomena occur as a consequence and cause of these actions, can be modelled in a straightforward way.

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Zeggelink, E.P.H., Van Oosten, R. & Stokman, F.N. Object oriented modeling of social networks. Comput Math Organiz Theor 2, 115–138 (1996).

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  • social networks
  • objected oriented modeling
  • dynamics