Mapping community innovation: Using social network analysis to map the interactional field, identify facilitators, and foster community development

Bruce Balfour, Theodore Roberts Alter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Can community networks be mapped to facilitate innovation? This study focuses on social structure and network interactions that can be used to identify key individuals and relationships with the potential to facilitate community innovation and development. Viewed through the lenses of social network analysis (SNA), interactional community theory, and social capital (trust), this study examines the dynamics of network interactions and the community field in a developing research park. Operated by two US Department of Energy national laboratories in California, the interactional environment of this research park is similar to the social structures and processes of small, place-based communities. SNA is used to identify critical community actors and map the core of a community field shared by two national laboratories. Findings suggest that SNA can be productively applied to community field mapping with the potential to strengthen collaboration, overcome innovation barriers, and identify facilitating actors who can foster community development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-448
Number of pages18
JournalCommunity Development
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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