A network or graph consists of points and lines connecting pairs of points. The points are called nodes or vertices. The lines are called arcs. The arcs may have a direction on them, in which case they are called directed arcs. If an arc has no direction, it is often called an edge. If all the arcs in a network are directed, the network is a directed network. If all the arcs are undirected, the network is an undirected network.
Two nodes may be connected by a series of arcs. A path is a sequence of distinct arcs (no nodes repeated) connecting the nodes. A directed path from node i to node j is a sequence of arcs, each of whose direction (if any) is towards j. An undirected path may have directed arcs pointed in either direction. A path that begins and ends at the same node is a cycle and may be either directed or undirected. A network is connected if there exists an undirected path between any pair of nodes. A connected network without any cycle is called a tree, because it looks like one. Nodes and arcs as points relations and relations models plenty of situations, objects, subjects, places, spaces, moments, events related by time, flows, systems and so on.
Wide experience in many fields suggests that systems do not appear to get any easier to understand through blind application of the reductionist principle and it is now widely regarded that some synthetic, bottom-up characterization is essential in grasping the way large scale systems function and evolve and can be modelled as networks.Interactions, and their connectivity is posing a major barrier to its continued development.
The rapidly developing science of networks is predicated not on the representation of static structures per se but on processes of change occurring on and within such structures. Most systems that survive, depend on their functioning at the local level adapting to produce resilient structures which are then reflected in a relative global order. In this sense, the structures that emerge cannot be explained without recourse to the dynamics of local action.
Processes acting on networks involve both short and longer term dynamics. This is emphasising their dynamics and the way they evolve from the bottom up, with networks an essential constituent of this decentralized paradigm. General systems theory which is the study of basic elements and their interactions, of their parts and wholes, with the whole being ‘more than the sum of the parts’ (von Bertalanffy, 1968). Interactions – relations – are also key to systems.
Unifying view of systemic, if it could be defined by some "central program of local care" is not alone. Many systems appear to function from the bottom-up in contrast to the top-down ways in which, such systems have been traditionally conceived. Ideas about networks and interactions embedded within intrinsically dynamic processes of change are gaining currency. These are part of the move to define new theories of complexity but they extend to the treatment of all systems which are away-from-static-equilibrium.
Pragmatically to be prepared to consider in any project appropriate mixing, as fas as one and a reasonable collective could care: * core principles significant anywhere anyplace * networks disposal * linear mechanisms or flows *branching diverging mechanisms or separating flows * parallel mechanisms or flows * branching converging mechanisms or flows * times' coincidence or clockwise mechanisms * openness * filterings * bypasses* determinism * aleatory or random, and so on. All a terminology of network, including the most reducing ones without prejudging or closing your mind on the uniqueminded that one or very few simple ones are the best: there are not the most common in reality.
Social Net works
Modern sociology has passed by many different perspectives of social relations and may have been latelly turned to network methods of studies. It is possible to explain these delays because in competition with managerial methods, and within the reductionist frames of science. Wanting to be scientific but behind the formal methods they poorly intented to react to what these were developing, sub-understanding or overestimating what logic, philosophy and mathematics (qualitative or quantitative were providing. Sociology has been originally created with a determinist purpose, as a positivism of reason (turning after to social politics) or an utilitarism of philosophy (turning after to economics of imperialism), even when the paradigms develop not necessarilly just according main thinkers hoped.
Also follow a dark period to justify superiorities and social hegemonisms serving at first colonialism, social world geography and other fascist and racist systems. But also by reaction turning to more deductive science (for sociology), monographic observations (anthropology and ethnology) sometimes inspired by nearby scientisms. Meanwhile ambitions of engineered social organisation of labor working relations had started also to shape industrial relations.
Approaches softer to humane characteristics (compared to scientific organisation of labour), closer to brought start of emprical tools looking like graphs (see Levin's schemes). Systemic following algebraic logical big doubt (on incompleteness) was caught much by electronic's block diagram modelization with move toward systemics but also delayed the careness of principles of theory of systems. At its origin with cybernetics there was also geopolitical concern (Cold War) which financed investigations of the sort. Latelly with formal sciences complexity developments' and formalists of complex mathematical behaviors with philosophers trying to support their dialectic with those results have led to modern studies of networks, sophisticated graphs algebra and so on, and an heterogenous accumulations of tools, methods and emprical material providing a huge tool boxes where litterature of self-help management, increasingly unable to inspire properly pick up the guidelines of its new best selling reports of potential revolution.
For 2 historial examples of questionning the optimum of perfect rigid structuring of working relations, Hawthorne's studies took place since and after the second world war. And contingent theory more recent in management literature.
"Hawthorne studies: • The aptitudes of individuals are imperfect predictors of job performance. Although they give some indication of the physical and mental potential of the individual, the amount produced is strongly influenced by social factors. • Informal organization affects productivity. The Hawthorne researchers discovered a group life among the workers. The studies also showed that the relations that supervisors develop with workers tend to influence the manner in which the workers carry out directives. • Work-group norms affect productivity. The Hawthorne researchers were not the first to recognize that work groups tend to arrive at norms of what is ‘a fair day’s work’. However, they provided the best systematic description and interpretation of this phenomenon. • The workplace is a social system. The Hawthorne researchers came to view the workplace as a social system made up of interdependent parts".
"The Contingency Theory also holds that there is no one universally applicable approach to management and decision-making. An optimal organization is dependent upon various internal and external factors imposed by the situation. Successful organizations have a proper ‘fit’ not only with the environment but also between the various departments within the organization. These factors include: • Size of the organization • Adaptability of the organization to the environmental changes • Differences among resources and operations • Interpersonal relations between managers and employees • Strategic planning • Technologies".