This is a short review of an article I found interesting.
Westaby, J.D., Pfaff, D.L. & Redding, N., (2014). Psychology and Social Networks: A Dynamic Network Theory Perspective, American Psychologist, 69, 269-284.
The authors note that a psychological perspective on social networks is rarely taken and advocate for more research. They define 8 (psychological) roles that are thought to be played in these networks regarding goal achievement that they present as a framework to encourage more research. The roles are:
- Goal Striving; directly attempting to achieve a specific goal.
- System Supporting; supporting those in goal pursuit.
- Goal Preventing; actively working to prevent goal achievement.
- Supportive Resisting; supporting goal preventeurs.
- System negating; responding with negative affect such as making fun of a person who is goal striving.
- System reacting; responding with negative affect toward those resisting goal pursuits.
- Interacting; People who can affect goals even though they do not intend to support or resist.
- Observing; People who only observe network activity, but nonetheless ca be involved in unintended effects.
This framework could make for an interesting analysis of networks and may have practical relevance for a wide variety of practices. It may prove to be hard to disentangle the effects wrought by multiple or even conflicting goals in complex environments, or with fluid and changing alliances and more study is needed, however it may be interesting to follow.