The quantum theory of trust

I’ve been listening to an intriguing talk in the invaluable IT Conversations series. It’s given by Karen Stephenson, an academic and consultant who has created a way of doing social network analysis in organisations. The nub of her approach is summarised in this pdf. Basically, she seems to look for several kinds of network in any organisational culture she studies:

  • The Work network. With whom do you exchange information as part of your daily work routines?
  • The Social network. With whom do you “check in” inside and outside the office?
  • The Innovation network. With whom do you collaborate or kick around new ideas?
  • The Expert Knowledge network. To whom do you turn for expertise or advice?
  • The Career Guidance or Strategic network. To whom do you go for advice about the future?
  • The Learning network. With whom do you work to improve existing processes or methods?

    Having worked in a large organisation for a long time, and been a consultant in many others, this analysis makes a lot of sense.

    Stephenson has a company which does social network analysis using an explicit methodology and some proprietary software for analysing social interactions (it probably includes monitoring and mapping email conversations). She’s also published a book, The Quantum Theory of Trust.