Representing small group evolution

Whitman Richards, Nicholas Wormald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the dynamics of network evolution rests in part on the representation chosen to characterize the evolutionary process. We offer a simple, three-parameter representation based on subgraphs that capture three important properties of social networks: leadership, team alignment or bonding among members, and diversity of expertise. When plotted on this representation, the evolution of a typical small group such as start-ups or street gangs has a spiral trajectory, moving toward a tentative fixed point as membership increases to two dozen or so. We show that a simple probabilistic model for recruitment and bonding can not explain these observations, and suggest that strategic moves among group members may come into play.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 12th IEEE International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, CSE 2009 - 2009 IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SocialCom 2009
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SocialCom 2009 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: 29 Aug 200931 Aug 2009


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SocialCom 2009
CityVancouver, BC


  • Dynamics
  • Evolution
  • Models
  • Small groups
  • Social networks

Cite this