Modeling the communication network in a sawmill

Judd H. Michael, Joseph G. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Groups of employees communicate with each other in what can be considered networks. Understanding the structure of these communication networks is crucial to the success of wood products producers. This research illustrates the manner in which communication networks can be graphically modeled and quantified using techniques of social network analysis. Data were collected from a mid-sized softwood sawmill to examine the network of communications among employees. The native language of many of the employees was Spanish. Both production and management personnel were included in the sampling. Data were analyzed to produce a "fingerprint" of the communications structure within the organization, as well as indications of individual power within this structure. Results indicate that certain persons are gatekeepers for information flows between and among functional areas, as well as gatekeepers for information between management and production. These gatekeepers must be recognized in order to diffuse information efficiently throughout the workplace. This research illustrates the importance of communication networks in the manufacturing environment, especially for issues related to the interface between production and marketing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalForest Products Journal
Volume47
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Plant Science

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