School of Business and Management

BUSM132 Complex Networks and Innovation


2 (2017/18)



Module organiser

Dr Pietro Panzarasas


Module overview

This module focuses on the structure and dynamics of a variety of complex networks, including the Internet, the World Wide Web, online social networks, inter- and intra-organisational networks, and import-export trade networks among countries. The module aims to develop a unified theoretical framework for the analysis of sociologically relevant phenomena that exhibit complex network structures and dynamics, such as information diffusion, cultural fads, financial crises, and viral marketing. Special emphasis will be placed on innovation, with a view to uncovering the structural foundations of knowledge creation, transfer, sharing, and diffusion in various empirical domains. To this end, the module will develop an interdisciplinary perspective by combining current research on complex networks with contributions from relevant organisational and sociological research.


75% coursework and 25% examination

Indicative reading list


  • Barab├ísi, A. L. (2002), Linked. How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for
  • Business, Science, and Everyday Life, Penguin, London
  • Barab├ísi, A. L. and R. Albert (1999), Emergence of scaling in random networks, Science, 286, 509-512.
  • Bonacich, P. (1987), Power and centrality: A family of measures, American Journal of Sociology, 92, 1170-1182.
  • Burt, R. S. (1982), Toward a Structural Theory of Action: Network Models of Social Structure, Perception and Action, Academic Press, New York.
  • Burt, R. S. (1987), Social contagion and innovation: Cohesion versus structural equivalence, American Journal of Sociology, 92, 1287-335.
  • Burt R. S. (1992), Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Dorogovtsev, S. N. and J. F. F. Mendes (2003), Evolution of Networks, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Easley, D. and J. Kleinberg (2010), Networks, Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World, Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • Eccles, G. and N. Nohria (eds.) (1992), Networks and Organizations: Structure, Form and Action, Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Feld, S. L. (1981), The focused organization of social ties, American Journal of Sociology, 86, 1015-35.
  • Feld. S. L. (1991), Why your friends have more friends than you do, American Journal of Sociology, 96, 1464-77.
  • Freeman, L. C. (1977), A set of measures of centrality based on betweenness, Sociometry, 40, 35-41.
  • Freeman, L. C. (1978), Centrality in social networks, Social Networks, 1, 215-39.
  • Girvan, M. and M. E. J. Newman (2002), Community structure in social and biological networks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, 99, 7821-7826.
  • Granovetter, M. (1973), The strength of weak ties, American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360-1380.
  • Granovetter, M. (1974), Getting A Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Granovetter, M. (1978), Threshold models of collective behavior, American Journal of Sociology, 83(6), 1420-1443.
  • Granovetter, M. (1985), Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness, American Journal of Sociology, 91 (3), 481-510.
  • Gulati, R. and M. Gargiulo (1999), Where do organizational networks come from?, American Journal of Sociology, 104(5), 1439-93. Harary, F. (1995), Graph Theory, Perseus, Cambridge, MA
  • Jackson, M. O. (2008), Social and Economic Networks, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ.
  • Kadushin, C. (2012), Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts, and Findings, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Lin. N. (2001), Social Capital. A Theory of Social Structure and Action, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.
  • Milgram, S. (1967), The small world problem, Psychology Today, 2, 60-67.
  • Monge, P. R. and N. S. Contractor (2003), Theories of Communication Networks, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Moore, G. (1990). Structural determinants of men's and women's personal networks, American Sociological Review, 55, 726-35.
  • Newman, M. E. J. (2000), The structure of scientific collaboration networks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98 (2), 404-409.
  • Newman, M. E. J. (2002), The spread of epidemic disease on networks, Physical Review E, 66, 016128.
  • Newman. M. E. J. (2003), The structure and function of complex networks, SIAM Review, 45, 167-256.
  • Newman. M. E. J. (2003), Mixing patterns in networks, Physical Review E, 67, 026126. Newman, M. E. J. (2004), Who is the best connected scientist? A study of scientific coauthorship networks, in Ben-Naim, E.,
  • Frauenfelder and Z. Toroczkai (eds.), Complex Networks, pp. 337-370, Springer, Berlin. Newman, M. E. J. (2004), Coauthorship networks and patterns of scientific collaboration, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, 101, 5200-5205.
  • Newman, M. E. J. (2004), Detecting community structure in networks, European Physical Journal B, 38, 321-330. Newman, M.E.J. (2010), Networks. An Introduction, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Newman, M. E. J. and J. Park (2003), Why social networks are different from other types of networks, Physical Review E, 68, 036122. Newman, M. E. J., S. H. Strogatz and D. J. Watts, (2001), Random graphs with arbitrary degree distributions and their applications, Physical Review E, 64, 026118.
  • Newman, M. E. J., D. J. Watts and S. H. Strogatz (2002), Random graph models of social networks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, 99, 2566-2572. Scott, J. (2000), Social Network Analysis: A Handbook, Sage, London.
  • Schelling, T. (1978), Micomotives and Macrobehavior, Norton, London. Travers, J. and S. Milgram (1969), An experimental study of the small world problem, Sociometry, 32(4), 425-443.
  • Uzzi, B. (1996), The sources and consequences of embeddedness for the economic performance of organizations: The network effect, American Sociological Review, 61, 674-98. Uzzi, B. (1997), Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(1), 33-67.
  • Valente, T. M. (1995), Networks Models of the Diffusion of Innovations, Cresskill, Hampton. Wasserman, S. and K. Faust (1994), Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Watts, D. W. (1999), Networks, dynamics, and the small-world phenomenon, American Journal of Sociology, 2, 493-527. Watts, D. J. (1999), Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks Between Order and Randomness, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Watts, D. W. (2003), Six Degrees. The Science of a Connected Age, Random House, London.
  • Watts, D. J. and S. H. Strogatz (1998), Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks, Nature, 393, 440-442.
  • Watts, D. J., P. S. Dodds and M. E. J. Newman (2002), Identity and search in social networks, Science, 296, 1302-1305.