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What is Organizational Network Analysis?

Contributors: David Patterson Aaron Chio

The success of any business transformation is rooted in alignment and adoption from people across an organization. Many strategic leaders are faced with unlocking the secret to increasing effective collaboration that ties to their overall goals and objectives. Questions on the minds of many leaders include: How do we drive strategic change initiatives? What contributes to a sustainable business transformation? What is the best way to establish cross-functional collaboration? How can I drive a more inclusive culture? To solve these challenges, many organizations evaluate their existing organizational structures and networks to understand who the key people are to lead change and which teams need to be engaged to sustain change through Organizational Network Analysis.

Looking at the formal reporting structures of teams highlights critical, but also partial, elements of an organization’s design and collaboration equation. There are informal collaboration networks that exist underneath formal titles that can play a vital role in influence, motivation, inclusivity, and long-term adoption when undergoing transformation. That’s why understanding the hidden informal connections through Organizational Network Analysis is key.

What is Organizational Network Analysis (ONA)?

Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) is a data-driven approach to analyze relationships between people and teams within an organization. This helps understand how communications, information, decisions, and resources flow across formal and informal networks of people. Through data-driven visualizations, ONA can uncover hidden players, brokers of tribal information, and key influencers which ultimately can aid in business transformation.
Clarkston’s ONA approach helps companies realize where they may have hidden talent or gaps in communication that, if addressed, can impact the trajectory of a change initiative.

Pinpoint Collaboration Opportunities through Organizational Network Analysis:

When undergoing any business change, we believe there are key considerations to understand the impact to talent engagement and effectiveness of collaboration. Organizational Network Analysis can be used to:

  • Optimize Teams: Improve performance by redistributing people more appropriately based on their relationships in the organization
  • Uncover Hidden Talent: Enhance employee experience by identifying new areas of collaboration, inclusion, cross-training, and mentorship
  • Pinpoint Silos: Determine the extent of silos across teams due to gaps in alignment of the team vision
  • Promote Change Agents: Identify change-agents for transformational efforts and grow through leadership training
  • Track Inclusivity: Compare the tendency for collaboration to occur between employees with different demographic characteristics

Prepare for Your Next Transformation with a Greater Understanding of your People Operations:

We understand that there are various organizational changes that impact both formal and informal relationships. When coupled with strategic planning initiatives, Organizational Network Analysis can uncover the gaps and provide insights to create sustainable change. Whether that involves adjusting to a new working model, preparing for business expansion, implementing a DE&I initiative, or adopting a new set of working norms and processes.

Each organization has their own unique set of challenges when undergoing any transformation. By having a pulse on the way people collaborate, leaders can make more informed decisions when managing and sustaining change.

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Coauthor and contributions by Sam Wilgus

Tags: Organizational Effectiveness, Organizational Health, Change Management