Organizational network analysis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Organizational network analysis (ONA) is a method for studying communication[1] and socio-technical networks within a formal organization. It is a quantitative descriptive technique for creating statistical and graphical models of the people, tasks, groups, knowledge and resources of organizational systems. It is based on social network theory[2] and more specifically, dynamic network analysis.

ONA is a growing trend in the field of People Analytics, especially around the concept of understanding Diversity and Inclusion as well as understanding how employees really interact with each other to achieve common and personal goals[3]. Using data to understand employee behavior is a growing trend, however, the focus on understanding relationships that drive behavior and provide context on employee sentiments is the key area for leading innovative growth.[4].

"Organizational network analysis (ONA) can provide an x-ray into the inner workings of an organization — a powerful means of making invisible patterns of information flow and collaboration in strategically important groups visible."[5]


ONA can be used in a variety of ways by leaders.

Network Visualizations[edit]

There are several tools that allow managers to visually depict their employee networks. Most of the tools are built specifically for researchers and academics who study Network theory, but are relatively inexpensive to use, as long as the leaders are well-versed on how to capture the information, feed it into the tool in the correct formats, and understand how to "read" and translate the network graphs into business decisions.

For the vast majority of business leaders who are not conversant in the nuances of network theory, there are various consultants who can educate the leaders on ONA and its uses and applications, such as Rob Cross or even bigger consulting companies such as Deloitte's Human Capital practice[6].

Diversity and Inclusivity Index[edit]

One of the major pain points facing companies today is around employing and sustaining a diverse workforce that is utilized to its maximum potential through an inclusive culture. Building a inclusive culture is very difficult as several companies and leaders can attest to, however, the key pain point is around tracking said inclusive culture. This is where the only viable tool to utilize is an ONA tool, which not just tracks how many employees have been hired by the company but also how the interact with each other. [7] This ability to track employee relationships gives leaders the data-driven transparency they need to unsure their company culture is in fact being deployed and represented accurately across all layers of their organization.


  1. ^ Merrill, Jacqueline; Suzanne Bakken; Maxine Rockoff; Kristine Gebbie; Kathleen Carley (August 2007). "Description of a method to support public health information management: organizational network analysis". Journal of Biomedical Informatics. Elsevier Inc. 40 (40): 422–428. doi:10.1016/j.jbi.2006.09.004. PMC 2045066Freely accessible. PMID 17098480. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  2. ^ Merrill, Jacqueline; Suzanne Bakken; Michael Caldwell; Kathleen Carley; Maxine Rockoff (2005). "Applying Organizational Network Analysis Techniques to Study Information Use in a Public Health Agency (summary)". AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings 2005. American Medical Informatics Association. p. 1052. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  3. ^ "People Analytics Grows Up: Healthy New Focus On Productivity". Josh Bersin. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  4. ^ "Informal Networks: The Company Behind the Chart". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  5. ^ "What is ONA? - Rob Cross Consulting". Rob Cross Consulting. Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Organizational network analysis | Deloitte US| Human Capital". Deloitte United States. Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  7. ^ Yamkovenko, Bogdan; Tavares, Stephen (2017-07-19). "To Understand Whether Your Company Is Inclusive, Map How Your Employees Interact". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 2017-11-01.