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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Social Network Analysis as a Methodological Approach to Explore Health Systems: A Case Study Exploring Support among Senior Managers/Executives in a Hospital Network

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030511
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Systems and Services)
Health systems research recognizes the complexity of healthcare, and the interacting and interdependent nature of components of a health system. To better understand such systems, innovative methods are required to depict and analyze their structures. This paper describes social network analysis as a methodology to depict, diagnose, and evaluate health systems and networks therein. Social network analysis is a set of techniques to map, measure, and analyze social relationships between people, teams, and organizations. Through use of a case study exploring support relationships among senior managers in a newly established hospital group, this paper illustrates some of the commonly used network- and node-level metrics in social network analysis, and demonstrates the value of these maps and metrics to understand systems. Network analysis offers a valuable approach to health systems and services researchers as it offers a means to depict activity relevant to network questions of interest, to identify opinion leaders, influencers, clusters in the network, and those individuals serving as bridgers across clusters. The strengths and limitations inherent in the method are discussed, and the applications of social network analysis in health services research are explored. View Full-Text
Keywords: social network analysis; leadership; organizational research; health; management social network analysis; leadership; organizational research; health; management
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De Brún, A.; McAuliffe, E. Social Network Analysis as a Methodological Approach to Explore Health Systems: A Case Study Exploring Support among Senior Managers/Executives in a Hospital Network. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 511.

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