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A social network analysis of South Central Kansas Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development

Oliwier Dziadkowiec (University of Colorado-Denver College of Nursing, Aurora, CO, USA)
Scott Wituk (Center for Community Support & Research, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA)
Debra Franklin (Center for Innovation and Enterprise Engagement, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the composition and strengths/weaknesses and major actors of a coalition of regional economic leaders in the composites participating in the Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) project aimed at supporting high-skilled and high-wage careers.

Design/methodology/approach

Social network analysis (SNA) was used to assess south-central (SC) Kansas WIRED coalition (n = 81) based on three surveys question: Who do you know? Who do you communicate with? and Who do you collaborate with? All the surveys were administered online in two waves.

Findings

SC Kansas WIRED network has a strong core, well-defined periphery and is immune to key actor losses, which suggests that they are well developed and sustainable. The well-defined periphery positions the collaborative to reach out to resources outside of the network and innovation.

Practical implications

SC Kansas WIRED Leadership team used the SNA to identify opportunities for further collaboration and reach out to individuals and groups who are not engaged well with others but are positioned well for sparking innovation and bringing resources to the region.

Originality/value

There are few analytic resources to empirically examine coalitions/collaboratives and the human and economic resources embedded in them. The results of this study and the feedback from SC Kansas WIRED Leadership team suggests that SNA was very valuable in identifying areas for action or improvement of the SC Kansas WIRED collaborative and can be utilized for effective decision-making.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

All funding for this project was provided by South Central Kansas WIRED Initiative, one of the 39 Workforce Innovations in Regional Development (WIRED) regions funded by the US Department of Labor.

Citation

Dziadkowiec, O., Wituk, S. and Franklin, D. (2015), "A social network analysis of South Central Kansas Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 6-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-08-2014-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited