Dynamic Network Theory: How Social Networks Influence Goal Pursuit

Pages: 279
Item #: 4316134
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1082-4
List Price: $49.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $39.95
Copyright: 2012
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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New discoveries across the social sciences highlight "social networks" as phenomena that can influence and change our lives. But what the literature doesn't address is: What gives social networks such power? How do they facilitate and motivate change?

In Dynamic Network Theory, James Westaby expertly melds social psychology's traditional focus on individual and collective goals with organizational/management science's analyses of institutional roles. The result is a masterly interdisciplinary work that explores these networks' generation of social capital in formal and informal organizations and settings. This analysis is made possible through a powerful combination of approaches from social psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, organization/management science, social learning, and helping skills.

Dynamic Network Theory is a quantum advance over conventional approaches because it directly infuses goals into social network analyses. Reaching beyond past research, the author also shows how the new concepts of "network motivation" and the "network rippling of emotions" have powerful effects on social networks.

Westaby expertly uses new dynamic network charts to illustrate the various everyday social networks we encounter in some way at different levels of analysis—from a local community trying to help solve a neighborhood crime, to a firm wondering how to track the source of performance problems, or to transnational terrorist cells figuring out how to plan an attack without central control or coordination.

Geared for researchers and practitioners interested in new approaches to social network analysis, Dynamic Network Theory is also written for scholars, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students in social psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and organizational/management science. In addition, the theory has implications for topics in conflict resolution, counseling, health, education, political science/international relations, consultation, and military studies. Appendixes include primers on designing and analyzing dynamic network charts and surveys.

Table of Contents


  1. Theoretical Overview, Assumptions, and Levels of Analysis
  2. Dynamic Goal Pursuit: Network Motivation, Emotions, Conflict, and Power
  3. Groups, Organizations, and Goal Pursuits Over Time
  4. Interventions: Leadership, Helping, Networking, and Organizational Learning
  5. Cognition and Mental Health in Social Networks
  6. Conclusions and Applications

Appendix: How to Build Dynamic Network Charts



About the Author

Author Bio

James D. Westaby, PhD, is an associate professor in the Program in Social-Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University. He received his BA in psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his PhD in social and organizational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Professor Westaby was also a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State University's Center for Applied Behavioral Science and was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at New York University.

Dr. Westaby's research examines two main areas. The first integrates the science of social networks and human goal pursuit to explain goal achievement and performance at multiple levels of analysis.  This work has culminated in the development of dynamic network theory.  The second examines behavioral reasoning theory (BRT), which explains behavior at the psychological level. BRT has been applied to various domains, such as the prediction of volunteerism, turnover, and peacebuilding.

His scholarly work has been published in a number of professional outlets, such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Leadership Quarterly, and the American Journal of Public Health.

Dr. Westaby has worked with various organizations, including the United Nations, the Boeing Corporation, the New York Department of Labor, Goldman Sachs, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. He has also been involved in various professional associations, such as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, the Academy of Management, and the Society for Judgment and Decision Making.

Reviews & Awards

Westaby artfully documents how the synergistic interplay of goal attainment and network dynamics informs all areas of human experience, from family dynamics to organizational function. The book is "must" reading for psychologists and social scientists who hunger for a paradigm that honors classic perspectives yet showcases cutting-edge ideas and methods.
—Robin R. Vallacher, PhD, Professor, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton; Research Affiliate, Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity, Columbia University

How can people in groups and organizations work together to meet multiple goals? Westaby provides the conceptual sophistication needed for the successful study of this challenging research question.
—Peter Gollwitzer, PhD, Professor, Social-Personality Psychology, New York University

Westaby makes a compelling case for this new metatheory that integrates social network analyses with human goal-striving theory. Dynamic network theory undoubtedly will become widely adopted and referenced in coming decades, making this book a landmark in social and I/O psychology.
—Barbara Lee, PhD, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation

I have learned much from reading this valuable, original contribution to social science theory. Other social scientists, and their students, would also profit from reading this important book.
—Morton Deutsch, PhD, E. L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University

The integration of social networks and goal constructs into one theoretical framework has considerable value for those concerned with individual, team, and organizational performance. Integrating research form many domains that typically are completely separate in terms readership, this volume is an impressive example of scholarly cross-pollination."
—James L. Farr, PhD, Professor of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, Past President of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

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