There are multiple forms that any network can take, and the form can impact what a network creates systemically for those involved. Focusing on and contrasting three perhaps overly simplified and distinct forms can help us to understand how structure matters:
In this article, he shows how certain network structures are effective in certain situations but ineffective in other contexts. He also looks at how power dynamics can shape a network in positive and negative ways if we are not intentional.
In examining our own networks, the author raises three questions for network leaders to reflect on:
- To the extent that networks are creating value in your work, who is creating and getting that value? Who is not?
- How are the patterns and nature of connection and flow in your network and/or networked activities addressing inequities of opportunity and outcome? How might they be exacerbating them?
- What might be done intentionally to ensure that there are more equitable opportunities and benefits?
- Curtis Ogden. Structure Matters: How Network Form Affects Outcomes. Next Gen Learning – Community. April 24, 2019.