You are here

Making Sense of Social Networks in Schools

Making Sense of Social Networks in Schools

Foreword by Guilbert C. Hentschke

February 2009 | 176 pages | Corwin
Discover how social networks can foster learning communities and promote school improvement!

Social networks reflect the usually invisible relationships that control the power and flow of information within a school. This resource for school leaders examines types of networks—related to tasks, friendships, power, and culture—and provides tools for maximizing networks' positive schoolwide influence. You will find:

- Samples of social network maps that illustrate the relationships among players in various types of networks

- Steps for developing your own social network maps using interviews, surveys, and data analysis

- Strategies and practical advice for managing social networks in support of school goals

About the Authors
Foreword by Guilbert Hentschke
Preface: What's in a Song?
Lyrics to Green Door
Introduction: The New Principal Encounters a Locked Door: Through a Smoky Cloud
Outside Looking In

Overview of the Book

1. A Glimmer of Networks: Saw an Eyeball Peepin'
Business Research

Predominance of Networks

Impact on Schools

Misreading Clues

The Context of Leadership

Managing Networks

Finding Direction

2. Network Basics: Green Door, What’s That Secret You’re Keepin’
Nuts and Bolts

Network Players

Whole Networks

The Key to the Green Door

3. Limitations of Task Networks: Door Slammed, Hospitality's Thin There
Searching for the Boss

Turned Down by the Boss

No Access

Finding Access



Stephanie Relaxes the Rule Book

4. Friendship Networks: The Happy Crowd
Finding Friends

Someone Who Understands Me

Someone Convenient

The Impact of Comfortable Connections

Emotional Contagion

Informal Induction

Jasmine’s Cost-Benefit Decision

Friendship and Productivity

Antipathy and Its Problems

The Blessings and Curses of Friendship Networks

5. Power Networks: Wish They’d Let Me In
Politics as Usual

Power Stars

Power as Perception

Power Players

Baskets and Eggs

Working the Power Networks

Principals as Politicians

6. Culture Networks: They Laugh a Lot Behind the Green Door
Stories and Traditions

Ties That Bind

The Way Things Are Done Around Here

Tribal Leaders, Mavericks, Mavens, Gossips, and Spies

The Door Ajar

Cultural Players

Trust Thy Neighbor

The Spirit Moves Her: A Principal Assumes the Dais

The Ghost of Garvey

A Bonding Moment

Reflecting on Garvey’s Green Door

7. Scoping and Working the Networks: Midnight, One More Night Without Sleepin’
Promises and Caveats of Network Study

Beyond Individual Players

Learning Communities, Culture, and Communication

Making Sense of School Networks

Opening a Can of Worms: Big Brother or the Future of Leadership

Inside the Green Door

Appendix: Research on Networks in Sociology, Business, and Education
Network Literature

Network and Related Literature in Education

Our Endeavors in Social Network Analysis


"In an era of accountability and simplistic management 'quick fixes,' it is refreshing to see a volume dedicated first and foremost to understanding and building human relationships in schools. By developing strong networks, schools can foster open systems committed to distributive leadership and exemplary academic outcomes."

Sharon Conley, Professor
University of California, Santa Barbara

"The important message of this book—that tasks and people are important, but an understanding of power relationships and cultural bonds are crucial to effective leadership—is a message that must be understood by all who work to improve learning for all students in our schools."

Stuart E. Gothold, Clinical Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Former Superintendent, Los Angeles County Schools

"Provides an intriguing insight into the reality and power of the human relationships that exist in our schools. This work offers alternative strategies for getting things done just as it proposes a new paradigm for thinking about the fundamental organization of the school. Readers will think about how they can lead most effectively with a new and challenging perspective."

Joanne Rooney, Codirector
Midwest Principals' Center

"The authors have created a useful, practical, and compelling guide for school and district leaders as they navigate the complexities of school environments. They skillfully guide the reader to manage the school culture in ways to support student achievement and overall school improvement. The authors provide tools, strategies, and resources for site and district administrators to collect and analyze data about one of the most important and often-ignored resources: social capital."

Delores B. Lindsey, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
California State University, San Marcos

"A unique book in that it makes the invisible but powerful human dynamics among staff members within a school more transparent and user-friendly."

Joy St. Pierre
School Social Work Journal, September 2010 (Vol. 35, No. 1)

This book is easy to read for BA students. Who reads this, might get interested in studying social networks or sociological problems of education more deeply.

Dr Karoly Takacs
Institute of Sociol, Corvinus University of Budapest
December 19, 2011

May use this text for a more advanced research course.

Dr Tirupalavanam Ganesh
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, Arizona State University - Tempe
September 26, 2011

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412954440
ISBN: 9781412954433