Community Network Analysis

One of the key questions associated with community engagement in natural resource management (NRM) is the relationships that exist amongst stakeholder organisations within a region. For example, to what extent do the organisations in my NRM region exchange information? What is the level of trust amongst these organisations? What is the relationship between the regional NRM body (CMA) and stakeholder organisations in the region?

Recent exploratory research using new data collection methods and techniques for data analysis are beginning to address these issues.

Below is a two dimensional plot showing the relationships between the Regional NRM body and other organisations in a region. In this case the relationship amongst all organisations is defined on the basis of how much information they exchange amongst themselves. In the plot the closer the organisations are, the greater the information exchange...and of course those organisations further apart exchange less information.

There's a few things about this plot which make it really interesting and important in terms of community engagement.

  1. Why is organisation A isolated? Why is there no information exchange with this organisation and all the other organisations?
  2. The organisations group themselves on the basis of the towns in which they are located. Although these two towns are only 10km apart, it looks like organisations in either town communicate amongst themselves, but not with organisations in the other town.
  3. The Regional NRM body (CMA) and Government agency are really close...they obviously exchange lots of information!
  4. The Regional NRM body (CMA) and Government agency are also somewhat separate from the organisations in both towns.

We could define relationship amongst organisations in other ways...such as the level of trust amongst organisation.

We could also use this to monitor change...lets say we introduce a community engagement process with these organisations and then do the same analysis in two years time.

Here's another plot:

  1. Most organisations are reasonably close in this community. But why are organisations A and B so isolated from the rest in this community?

Looks like the regional NRM body is really isolated here. There's no information exchange at all between the regional body and other organisations. Why?

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Design by Adam Robinson