Network Analysis


Selecting a Team Leader
Steve Borgatti, Boston College


David Krackhardt tells the story of cross-divisional task-force team headed by a well-respected senior engineer named Harris. The team never seemed to get anywhere. A network analysis of the organization showed that while the team leader was often consulted on technical issues, he was not central in the trust network (see far right of network diagram).

Trust is essential when leading groups consisting of representatives from different departments. All departments compete at some level for resources and autonomy. Representatives of departments are protective of their departments and won't be very helpful unless they trust the leader to look after their interests.

Rather than replace Harris and undermine confidence in the task force, the CEO decided to add a co-leader. Based on the network diagram, the CEO chose the most central player in the trust network. Over the next two months, the task force made significant forward progress.







2005 Steve Borgatti

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