It’s hard to believe that the Class of 2014 has officially completed Darden’s Core Curriculum and are moving on to electives next week. After spending a phenomenal spring break exploring the Coastal South– I highly recommend spending some time in Savannah and Charleston–Low Country is a MUST-DO experience– I returned to Darden for two weeks of condensed, intensive curriculum focused on a marketing simulation and leadership development.
In small teams, we competed using a computer simulation that placed students as car manufacturers. Whether your team was saddled with a value-oriented “toyota-esque” brand or a luxury “BMW-type” portfolio, it was a great learning experience that integrated our coursework, thus far, within the context of market, economic and consumer behavior.
Our Leading Organizations (LO) intensive revolved around formulating business vision, strategy and organizational design that drives towards result through effective leadership, culture development and, of course, evaluation metrics. Interestingly, in our final deliverable, I found myself revisiting Social Network Analysis and continue to be fascinated by the emerging trend that allows organizations to better understand how professional “relationships can either facilitate or impede knowledge creation and transfer” and to provide tangible evidence of the boons reaped from actively engaged employees.[i] SNA software packages such as UCINET (which you can download for a free trial) allows firms to visualize the flow of information and processes through informal networks and identify bottlenecks, experts, isolated parties, and allegiances.
Below is a very, very simplistic example of formal vs informal information networks:
Appropriately enough, Section B officially ended class-oriented activities by rewarding our fearless, section representative with a pie in the face !
[i] Cross, Rob, Andrew Parker and Stephen P. Borgatti. AnalyticTech.com – IBM INstitute for Business Value. May 2002. White Paper. 2 April 2013. http://www.analytictech.com/borgatti/papers/cross,%20parker%20and%20borgatti%20-%20A_birds_eye_view.pdf