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Social Network Analysis in Telecommunications by Carlos Andre Reis Pinheiro

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CHAPTER 4

Measures of Power and Influence

One of the most common objectives of social network analysis is understanding the relationships within a social structure composed of customers, employees, students, or any other group of people, and identifying how members of the network influence one another. Influence is a form of power, suggestion, or domination. Depending on the type of social structure, influence can take different shapes and have different strengths.

For corporate purposes, influence is the capacity of one particular customer to induce others to follow him or her in a specific business event. In social structures such as universities and schools, influence can take many forms. In these networks, power is often the strongest form of influence. One particular member is able to induce others in several distinct ways, about opinions or actions, depending on the type of subject.

However, in business scenarios, influence is more often recognized in the context of particular events. One group of customers can exert influence over another for a specific business event, such as churn, but not for purchasing. Customers can exert influence over others when they acquire a product or service, leading related customers to acquire something similar. Naturally, an intersection between these customers might exist, where a subset of influential customers can induce other customers regarding churning and purchasing. However, most often the influence is correlated to a particular business ...

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