Ethical and Strategic Issues in Organizational Social Network Analysis

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104 Citations (Scopus)


In addition to all the usual ethical problems that can arise with any kind of inquiry, network analyses, by their very nature, introduce special ethical problems that should be recognized. This paper delineates some of these problems, distinguishing between problems that arise in purely academic studies and those that arise in managerial practice settings. In addition, the paper raises the long-term question of whether the use of network analysis for making managerial decisions will make collecting valid network data impossible in the future, seriously harming the academic field of social network research. The paper concludes with a short set of principles intended to form the basis for a set of guidelines designed to safeguard participants in social network studies and protect the long term viability of the network research enterprise. © 2003, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-349
JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2003


  • ethics
  • institutional review boards
  • organization
  • social networks


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