Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
In a complex adaptive system, diverse agents perform various actions without adherence to a predefined structure. The achievement of collaborative actions will be the result of continual interactions among them that shape a dynamic network. Agents may form an ad hoc organization based on the dynamic network of interactions for the purpose of achieving a long-term objective, which we termed a Network Organization (NO). Fervent and agile communication on social networking sites provides opportunities for potential issues to trigger individuals into individual actions as well as the attraction and mobilization of like-minded individuals into an NO that is both physically and virtually emergent. Examples are the rapid pace of Arab Spring proliferation and the diffusion rate of the Occupy Movement. We are motivated by a spontaneously formed NO as well as the quality of plasticity that enables the organization to change rapidly to describe an NO. Thus, we present a paradigm that serves as a reference model for organizations of socially networked individuals. This paradigm suggests modular components that can be combined to form an ad hoc network organization of agents. We touch on how this model accounts for external change in an environment through internal adjustment. For the predominant influences of the network substrate in an NO, multiple effects of it have an impact on the NO behaviors and directions. We envisioned several dimensions of such effects to include synergy, social capital, externality, influence, etc. A special focus in this work is measuring synergy and social capital as two predominant network effects. Synergy is perceived as different modalities of compatibility among agents when performing a set of coherent and correspondingly different actions. When agents are under no structural obligation to contribute, synergy is quantified through multiple forms of serendipitous agent chosen benevolence among them. The approach is to measure four types of benevolence and the pursuant synergies stemming from agent interactions. Social capital is another effect of networking that describes the accumulation of positive values of social flow and perceived trust plus abundance of communication over the common topic of NO. We provide measurement of social capital based on an agents’ expected benevolence. We examine those two effects in two different case studies — one case of a virtual organization and another of a real world terrorist organization — that best illustrate the main tenets of our conceptualization.
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