1. Social domains are complex networks comprising stakeholders who compete for outcomes in the domain by exercising influence on each other.
Every social domain is comprised of stakeholders (individuals, groups of individuals, public and private organisations, government).
Social domains are complex systems: systemic, in that they are comprised of players interacting in a way that is self-organising, self-sustaining and establishes a boundary; and complex, in that there are multiple actors, with multiple agendas, multiple technologies of interaction. A level of uncertainty is assumed.
Social domains are value-neutral: (networks don’t “kiss or kill”)
Regulation = “any behaviour intended to control, order or influence the behaviour of others”
A social domain can be represented as a meta-regulatory network where each of the nodes are stakeholders and they are interconnected by relations of influence.
Analysis tool: Meta-regulatory mapping
2. Stakeholders have different capacities to influence, which are amenable to investigation and analysis.
Capacities to influence may be actual or potential
Investigation of stakeholder capacity can yield theory about their influential salience within the domain.
Analysis tool: NATO capacity assessment
Analysis tool: Agenda identity profile
3. Stakeholder practicesof influence are amenable to investigation and analysis.
Nodes in a social domain strategically direct and receive vectors of influence from each other. We can investigate the content of these vectors.
A vector of influence is a product of the objectives and strategy of the influencing stakeholder. It will be driven by the values-based impetus of a rationality. It will be transmitted from the influencing stakeholder to the influenced stakeholder by a technology. Technologies of influence take many forms: from laws, directives and rules, to standardised practice, and subtlely expressed expectation.
A vector of influence generates response by the receiving stakeholder. This may be directed internally, or externally either to a third party or the original influencing stakeholder. The response can range from outright compliance to outright resistance and counter-influence.
Analysis tool: Ethnography of influence.
4. The synthesis of the products of investigations into capacities to influence and practices of influence improves strategic decision-making by any stakeholder.
Stakeholder network analysis uniquely twins macro-discourse and micro-practice perspectives.
It is suitable for investigation of any social domain where political-nuanced, realist analysis would enlighten policy or strategy development.