Date of release: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'Six degrees of separation' can help businesses, according to the University of Greenwich. The popular theory, which links any two people by just six steps can unlock the true potential of a business. In July, a panel of experts will be converging on the university to discuss how.

To launch the Centre for Business Network Research at the university's Business School, the only such centre in the country, experts will be discussing the benefits of Social Networking Analysis (SNA). First developed in the US, Social Networking Analysis analyses the relationships between people. With the explosion in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter, how we interact with each has been put increasingly under the spotlight.

The panel includes Professor David Krackhardt from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, a pioneer in the field of Social Network Analysis.

Dr Bruce Cronin, Head of the Department of International Business & Economics, which developed the software, says:

"Mapping the various networks has helped businesses gain an advantage in tough times; by developing strong effective relationships between colleagues, managers are able to boost efficiency. The key lies in developing an awareness of which colleagues know what, ensuring that good networks emerge through easy access to these employees and their willingness to problem-solve.

"In these times of economic uncertainty, it is essential that businesses have cost effective solutions to problems. Understanding the networks within an organisation can increase efficiency and gain new business in unexpected ways"

In the last ten years Social Network Analysis has exploded in popularity with pop sociologist Malcolm Gladwell referencing elements of the theory in his book 'Tipping Point'. The ideas behind mapping relationships has even been incorporated into the global phenomenon 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon', which links the popular Hollywood actor to any other actor in six steps.

'Activating Business Networks for Performance and Growth' takes place at the university on Friday, July 3 from 2pm to 5pm, followed by drinks on a Thames cruise. For more information phone 020 8331 9083 or email businessevents@gre.ac.uk

For more information about the International Department of Business & Economics visit http://www.gre.ac.uk/schools/business/departments/ibe or call 0800 005 006. 

For interview opportunities and further information, please contact:

Ben Ashmore, Press Officer

Tel: 020 8331 9420

Notes: About the Department of International Business and Economics:

The Department of International Business and Economics provides leading-edge research and teaching on global business. On the basis of strong roots in economics it contributes critical rigour to contemporary practice in international business. Undergraduate programmes provide a solid grounding in Economics, Business Economics, and International Business.