Developing network models of development projects: An introduction > Network Examples > Networks inside organisations

Structure and Strategy

In a multilateral organisation

In the network diagram below the different divisions within the organisation are shown as squares. Each of these divisions has a portfolio of projects which it is funding, and each portfolio of projects addresses one or more of the organisation's corporate strategic objectives (shown as red circles). Line thickness is used to represent the relative proportion of each division's budget being devoted to each strategic objective (based on document sources).

This network structure has implications for how responsibilities for the evaluation of projects and strategic objectives could be devolved by the central Evaluation unit. Where an objective is being pursued by one division only, responsibility for evaluation of that objective could be devolved to that division (E.g. in the case of objectives  2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14,15). Where an objective is being pursued by multiple divisions then the Evaluation unit may need to provide a coordination or facilitation role. Facilitation may be more appropriate where the number of conntributing divisions is small (E.g. 1, 5, 6, 7), but more active coordination may be needed where they are larger in number (E.g. 3, 16).

This approach assumes that the structure of the current objectives x divisions network is optimal. This may not be the case. The divisions x objectives network model can be simplified into an objectives x objectives model, to show how individual objectives are connected to other objectives (by having the same divisions investing in their achievement).  So, in the network example below objectives 1 and 2 are closely linked, whereas 1 and 12 are not linked at all.  However, objectives 1 and 12 may be more closely linked than 1 and 2 when we look at the contents of the changes described by the objectives and how they are causaly connected. If so, the organisational structure (into divisions) may need revision. [text continues below diagram]

One way of exploring alternative organisational structures that may be more aligned with causal connections between objectives is to develop a causal model of how the objectives might be expected to contribute to  each other. So, in this objectives x objectives matrix cell entries would indicate the extent to which each row objective is expected to contribute to the achievement of each column objective. The next diagram shown below is a semi-fictional example created for another organsiation. The objectives are real, but the linkages between them were interpreted, for illustration purposes. If this model was accepted by the organisation concerned, then the divisions that should be most closely linked by a management structure should be those whose portfolios both address objectives closely linked in the causal network model. Of course this is something of an idealisation, since in most cases organisational politics would either prevent the emergence of causal network model that was this disruptive. Or it would prevent implementation of the organisational changes implied as necessary by the disruptive model.


Circles =  Expected outcomes in a program

Larger circle = more links to/from other outcomes

Blue circle = Outcome mainly being influenced by other outcomes (# incoming links).

Green circle = Outcomes mainly influencing other outcomes (# outgoing links)

Red circles = Outcomes influenced and influencing other outcomes

Lines thickness = strength of expected influence

Government Agencies and  governance policy objectives within the Ghana Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2005

In the process of  developing  the GGPRS a number of cross-sectoral planning groups developed policy objectives in a number of core areas of concern to the government. Participants were largely from within the Government, but also included some NGOs and an occasional donor. In one planning group, the participating government bodies were asked to prioritise the policy objectives that had been developed.This data was summarised in a matrix form, which was latter used to generate a network diagram, highlighting the most important linkeages between sections of government and specific policy objectives. That diagram is shown below (after some anonomising of the participants).

[yet to be developed]