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Am Psychol. 2014 Apr;69(3):269-84. doi: 10.1037/a0036106.

Psychology and social networks: a dynamic network theory perspective.

Author information

1
Program in Social-Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Abstract

Research on social networks has grown exponentially in recent years. However, despite its relevance, the field of psychology has been relatively slow to explain the underlying goal pursuit and resistance processes influencing social networks in the first place. In this vein, this article aims to demonstrate how a dynamic network theory perspective explains the way in which social networks influence these processes and related outcomes, such as goal achievement, performance, learning, and emotional contagion at the interpersonal level of analysis. The theory integrates goal pursuit, motivation, and conflict conceptualizations from psychology with social network concepts from sociology and organizational science to provide a taxonomy of social network role behaviors, such as goal striving, system supporting, goal preventing, system negating, and observing. This theoretical perspective provides psychologists with new tools to map social networks (e.g., dynamic network charts), which can help inform the development of change interventions. Implications for social, industrial-organizational, and counseling psychology as well as conflict resolution are discussed, and new opportunities for research are highlighted, such as those related to dynamic network intelligence (also known as cognitive accuracy), levels of analysis, methodological/ethical issues, and the need to theoretically broaden the study of social networking and social media behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
24750076
DOI:
10.1037/a0036106
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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