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2013/2014  KAN-CM_C24  Competing on Social Networks

English Title
Competing on Social Networks

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Autumn
Changes in course schedule may occur
Class A: Tuesday 12.35-16.05, week 36-42
Tuesday 12.35-17.00, week 43
Class B: Thursday 08.00-11.30, week 36-42
Thursday 08.00-12.35, week 43
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Marie Louise Mors - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG)
Administrativ kontakt: Anders Pico - smg@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 16-12-2013
Learning objectives
By the end of the course, the students should be able to clearly articulate:
  • What social networks are and define some of the main social network concepts
  • Discuss how social networks affect organizational performance and outcomes
  • Analyze and discuss how individual managers can utllize and be constrained by their social networks
Competing on Social Networks:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period October and October
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed Book
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
Social networks are becoming increasingly salient in our modern society. But what exactly are social network and how do they constrain organizational performance and how might they be most effectively be utilized to compete successfully? The wealth of information about this phenomena also means that it is difficult to decipher what social networks are useful and how they can be utilized most effectively. Particularly for firms or individual managers operating in competitive environments. This course aims at clarifying this phenomena by giving the students an introduction to the basic concepts and principles of social network theory and analysis. The course will also focus on the practical application and use of social network concepts. The course is therefore organized according to four main themes:
  1. Introduction to the basic theory and concepts of social networks: The students will be introduced to the background of social network theory with a focus on the origins in sociology. In addition, some of the main definitions, theories and concepts will be explicated and discussed.
  2. Introduction to basic network analysis: In this part of the course we will discusssome of the basic network measures and how they may link to different outcomes. We will then attempt to apply some of these measures to analysis of some simple network data.
  3. Practical application in a firm setting : During this part of the course we will discuss how firms can utilize and manage their social networks. And address questions such as; what are the implications of different network structures for managers in organizations? How do networks affect the ability to get things done? How does the overall network that organizations are embedded in affect firm performance?
  4. Practical application for the individual : Finally, the course will look at how individual employees might think about managing and utilzing their networks. The students will be invited to analyze their own professional network and develop a strategy for how they might develop their networks in the future. 
Teaching methods
11 sessions of 3 hours. The teaching methods will consist of lecturing, case study discussion, in-class individual and group exercises, and one or two practitioner guest speakers. Preparation and active participitation in the class discussion is expected.
Expected literature
Basic reference book by Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, 2004: “The hidden power of social networks: Understanding how work really gets done in organizations” Harvard Business School Publishing.

In addition, the following (preliminary list of) articles, which can be found electronically via the CBS library:
Baker, Wayne E. & Robert R Faulkner. 2004. Social networks and loss of capital. Social Networks, Vol 26 (2): pages 91-111.
Cross, Rob & Robert Thomas. 2011. “A smarter way to network” Harvard Business Review, Vol 89 (7/8), pages 149-153.
Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan. 2011. ”Social strategies that work.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 89 (11), pages 116-122.
Ibarra, Herminia & Mark Hunter. 2007. ”How leaders create and use networks.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 85(1), pages 40-47.
Casciaro, Tiziana & Miguel Sousa Lobo. 2005. ”Competent jerks, lovable fools, and the formation of social networks.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 83(6), pages 92-99.
Rosenkopf, Lori & Rafael A. Corredoira. 2008. ”What you can gain when you lose good people.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 86(4), pages 24-28.
Krackhardt, David & Jeffrey R. Hanson. 1993. ”Informal networks: The company behind the chart” Harvard Business Review, Vol 71(4), pages 104-111.
Cross, Rob, Stephen Borgatti & Andrew Parker. 2002. ”Making invisible work visible: Using social network analysis to support collaboration.” California Management Review, Vol 44(2), pages 25-46.
Granovetter, Mark. 2005. ”The impact of social structure on economic outcomes.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol 19(1): pages 33-50.
Mors, Marie Louise. 2010. ”Innovation in a global consulting firm: When the problem is too much diversity.” Strategic Management Journal, Vol 31(8), pages 841-872.
Last updated on 16-12-2013