Higher-Level Concepts in DNT

Higher-Level Concepts in DNT

Network Motivation (aka "goal pursuit links")

The first two roles of goal striving (G) and system supporting (S) in dynamic network theory (Westaby, 2012; Westaby et al., 2014) represent the functional ways that entities in social networks are involved in our goal pursuits.  Together, these roles show the "network motivation" underlying our pursuits.  “Network motivation” is a term coined in the theory and is posited to be one of the most powerful forces driving positive change and functionality in human systems. We calculate this metric in our network goal analyses and computer visualizations.  This provides users with an overall summary of these functional forces in their systems under study.



The third and fourth roles of goal preventing (P) and supportive resisting (V) in dynamic network theory show "network resistance" working against our goals.  These are the forces that obstruct the goal in independent and interdependent ways, respectively, and explain some of the oppositional forces in our systems. 

The fifth and sixth roles show "network reactance": How individuals in social networks deal with negativity in the network toward their pursuits.  Some people get upset with each other, which is system negation (N), while others attempt constructive efforts to fix the conflict, which is system reactance (R), in our newer formulation.  Our latest measurement of system reactance extends past dynamic network theorizing by analysing constructive linkages in networks.

The "conflict" metric provided in our latest theorizing, network goal analysis, and computer visualization represents the combination of P, V, N, and R.  This is a helpful summary for conflict researchers to understand the overall level of potential strife and tension in a system.


Peripheral Roles

The last two roles in the theory illustrate the peripheral factors in networks that can inadvertently influence our goal pursuits: Interactants (I), who may be in the vicinity of our goal pursuits but not paying attention to us, and Observers (O), who are watching or aware of our goal pursuits but are not helping, hurting, or closely interacting with us.  Some entities engaged in these roles can have powerful effects over time because they can dynamically transform into other roles. For example, an observer who witnesses a person suffering may quickly transform into a system supporter.


System-Level Metrics

Advantageously, other system-level concepts can be generated in network goal systems from our survey process and analytics to characterize and simplify our understanding of complex systems. Our computerized reports provide metric summaries on a variety of complex dynamics, precisely defined through dynamic network theory:

System Frequencies

  • Network motivation: Sum of G and S role linkages
  • Conflict: Sum of P, V, N, and R role linkages
  • Linkage complexity: Sum of all linkages
  • System complexity: Sum of all linkages and number of entities
  • Linkage performance score

System Ratios*  

  • Positive focus ratio
  • Competency ratio
  • Active competency ratio
  • Feedback ratio
  • Network density
  • Centralization

*The computerized reports provide full operationalizations


Emergent Variables in Network Goal Systems

Various concepts can be used as important dependent variables in the assessment of complex systems, such as predicted by the activation of the various social network roles in dynamic network theory:

  • Overall goal achievement (e.g., from multi-item scales, such as the degree to which the goal is rated as being achieved, or objective indicators)
  • Positive and negative climates
  • System satisfaction
  • Goal pursuit satisfaction
  • Overall relationship quality in the network goal system

Copyright (C). James D. Westaby.  All rights reserved.

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