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Unpleasant networking realities

Tensed Networks: Balancing and focusing network dynamics in response to networking diseases (Part #3)

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In continuing this study, it should be noted that the purpose is to highlight the weaknesses of network activity not its many strengths which have been adequately lauded elsewhere (2, 3, 4).

Clearly combinations of the weaknesses noted above may result in a network of minimal significance, if only to those who tend to perceive themselves as members. Such activity as there is may then be characterized by :

  • regular contact between key members only
  • irregular or no contact with some members
  • member contact (if any) with central elites and rarely (if at all) with other members
  • fragmentation of the network into sub-networks
  • member activity only in response to stimulus or to occasions, namely not selfactivating or continuous  member dependence on continuing encouragement, whether verbal or in the form of some financial support (namely " activated" members as opposed to "self-activating" )
  • limited ability of members to process communications from other members and to integrate them into some larger framework
  • reliance on forms of communication which in themselves hinder integration and collective learning (or action) :
    • presentations, or exchanges of documents, in a "show-and-tell" spirit, to impress others of the importance of particular isolated activities
    • publication of collections or compilations of documents which require that the reader perform the task of integration which the contributors avoid
    • presentation of results as the work of individual member bodies rather than as an integration of their thinking
    • member interaction designed to improve respective individual contributions but not to integrate them
    • inability to focus (or build) on issues raised by individual contributions, or on the lacunae which emerge between them
    • different skills and perspectives remain alien (or occasionally hostile) to each other and do not lead to the production of a framework which exemplifies their complementarity.

Difficulties such as these are due to many factors which will become better known in the future. However, insofar as the network is designed to reinforce what the members are doing individually anyway, it comes to be evaluated against the ability of the member to act without the network. This loses sight of what the network can achieve as a whole. This is examined below by considering the  "communication units" and "comunication frameworks" within the network.

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