Peter Parker, Malmö University, Sweden
My research focuses on personal networks and their role in personal and organizational development. There is a long line of research in this field, which clearly demonstrates that personal networks have an important impact on communicative climate and performance in organizations. However, it is also clear that there is still much more that can be done in understanding how people actually communicate and to use this as an input in organizational development. My work has sought to derive clear and simple tools to this effect. I teach subjects related to general leadership and project management at the University of Malmö where I have a position as an assistant professor.
Most people find personal networks important. The people we exchange information with, discuss issues and ideas with, are important in introducing us to new facets of life and new opportunities. Contacts may also be vital because they embody trust and enable higher quality communication and thereby provide a platform for coping with uncertainties. Personal networks are also important on an organizational level. For instance, some firms afford an atmosphere of lively and productive exchange of ideas. In others even the best idea has little chance of surviving. These differences can largely be explained by differences in the structure of personal networks among key actors. In this talk I will present research findings and suggest simple, hands on methods of using network data as an input tom improve organizational climate and performance.