Paul S. Chinowsky, Barbara Robinson , and Sherman Robinson
An effective social network is built on “social relationships,” fostered by increasing “reliance” on another person to complete tasks (within required parameters) because he or she has delivered reliably in the past; and “trust”— an emotional, interpersonal connection that grows out of reliance, based on testing/consulting with another individual over time. “Reliance” and “trust” foster high levels of “collaboration,” an essential ingredient for creating high performing teams. Developing teams that have trust among the participants is important as the teams engage in information transfer, knowledge exchange, and finally knowledge sharing, leading to full “social network engagement.” In this paper, we combine the Social Network Analysis which describes the “mechanics” of a social network in an engineering/architecture firm with data, gathered using a psychometric instrument, The Birkman Method, to quantify the behavioral and personality characteristics of individuals in that firm—the dynamics” that drive the mechanics. Our focus is on identifying and measuring specific characteristics that engender reliance, trust, and collaboration. We find that the quantitative measures of behavioral and personality characteristics help explain the interactions of highly networked individuals in a social network, or, conversely, of individuals who have low levels of network engagement.