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2014/2015  KAN-CM_C24  Competing on Social Networks

English Title
Competing on Social Networks

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Marie Louise Mors - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG)
Associate Professor Mia Reinholt will teach one module of course
PhD student Olga Zarzecka will run sessions on the social network software
Administrativ kontakt: Peter Dan Eriksen, mail pde.smg@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
  • Methodology
Last updated on 09-01-2015
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
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Det er en forudsætning for at deltage i den mundtlige prøve, at det skriftlige produkt er afleveret inden afholdelse af prøven; inden for fastsat frist.
Competing on Social Networks:
Exam ECTS 7,5
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
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

During the exam the examinator and internal censor will look for demonstration of and understanding of the course materials.

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 for the individual : In this part of 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.
  4. Practical application in a firm setting : FInally, 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?

    PLEASE NOTE: Although we will devote one session to social media strategies and how they relate to social networks this is NOT a course about social media per se.
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.
Further Information

PLEASE NOTE: Although we will devote one session to social media strategies and how they relate to social networks this is NOT a course about social media per se.The course deals with classical social network theory and some methodology related to social network theory and how individuals and firms can utilize their social networks (not electronic networking tools) to compete.

Expected literature

Basic reference books: Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, 2004: “The hidden power of social networks: Understanding how work really gets done in organizations” Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Wayne Baker, 2000: "Achieving success through social capital: Tapping the hidden resources in your personal and business networks." San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

In addition, the following (preliminary list of) articles, which can be found electronically via the CBS library:
Ibarra, Herminia & Mark Hunter. 2007. ”How leaders create and use networks.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 85(1), pages 40-47.
Krackhardt, David & Jeffrey R. Hanson. 1993. ”Informal networks: The company behind the chart” Harvard Business Review, Vol 71(4), pages 104-111.
Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan. 2011. ”Social strategies that work.” Harvard Business Review, Vol 89 (11), pages 116-122.
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.

Last updated on 09-01-2015