Social Network Analysis: A Brief Introduction to the Theory

  • Şefika Şule ErçetinEmail author
  • Nilay Başar Neyişci
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Social networks are self-organizing, emergent, and complex, such that a pattern appears from the interaction of the elements that make up the system (Newman M, Barabási AL, Watts DJ. The structure and dynamics of networks. Princeton studies in complexity. Princeton University Press, Oxford, 2006). These patterns become more apparent as network size increases. Social network analysis is a collection of concepts, measures, and techniques for relational analysis. It is an approach that is specifically designed to grasp the most important features of social structures and it is unrivalled in this task. It can be used to explore social relations themselves and also the cultural structures of norms and ideas that help to organize those relations in conjunction with material circumstances. The study discusses the ways in which relational and cultural structures can be investigated with a few simple network concepts. Theories of social structure inform and sustain the methods of social network analysis.


Social media Social network Social network analysis Theory 


  1. 1.
    Barnes J (1954) Class and committees in a Norwegian Island Parish. Hum Relat 7:39–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brass DJ (1992) Power in organizations: a social network perspective. Res Polit Soc 4:295–323ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Borgatti SP, Foster PC (2003) The network paradigm in organizational research: a review and typology. J Manag 29:991–1013Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Barabási A-L (2003) Linked: how everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science, and everyday life. Plum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burt RS (1976) Positions in networks. Soc Forces 55:93–122MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Burt RS (1982) Toward a structural theory of action. Academic, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burt RS (1992) Structural holes: the social structure of competition. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cranmer SJ, Desmarais BA (2011) Inferential network analysis with exponential random graph models. Polit Anal 19(1):66–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    de Nooy W (2012) Graph theoretical approaches to social network analysis. In: Meyers RA (ed) Computational complexity: theory, techniques, and applications. Springer, New York, pp 2864–2877. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-1800 9_176. ISBN 978-1-4614-1800-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jones C, Volpe EH (2011) Organizational identification: extending our understanding of social identities through social networks. J Organ Behav 32:413–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kadushin C (2012) Understanding social networks: theories, concepts, and findings. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lincoln JR. (1982) Intra (and inter-) organizational networks. In: Bacharach SB (eds) Research in the sociology of organizations, vol 1. JAI Press, Greenwich, CTGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Reis HT, Collins WA (2004) Relationships, human behavior and psychological science. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 13:233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Riketta M, Nienber S (2007) Multiple identities and work motivation: the role of perceived compatibility between nested organizational units. Br J Manag 18:61–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Strogatz SH (2001) Exploring complex networks. Nature 410:268–276. doi: 10.1038/35065725 CrossRefPubMedADSGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tichy N, Fombrun C (1979) Network analysis in organizational settings. Hum Relat 32:923–956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tichy NM, Tushman ML, Fombrun C (1979) Social network analysis for organizations. Acad Manage Rev 4:507–519Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Şefika Şule Erçetin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nilay Başar Neyişci
    • 3
  1. 1.International Science Association (ISCASS)AnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Educational Management, Planning, Supervision and Economics, Faculty of EducationHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations