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Home » Methods » Ego Network

Ego Network

Unclear roles and responsibilities
Min. 1 project managers
0.5 - 1 hours
  • Digital whiteboard: Miro or Mural
  • Video conferencing: Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.
Best Practices

Explanation of the method

  1. Define your node (ego). Should it be represented by only one person or a whole team?
  2. Enter in the first level the direct connections to your focal account point (ego).
  3. For the second level, think about who the people on the first level might know. This may give you access to new knowledge or information. These reflect the indirect connections. Also use social networks here (e.g,. LinkedIn/XING/ResearchGate) if you are unsure who your direct connections network with.
  4. Now display the relationships between the individual nodes in your network using arrows. The direction of the arrow symbolizes the flow of information and knowledge. The more often a node is connected to other nodes through indirect connections, the easier it is for the ego to reach that node as well. Consider which nodes have a cross-border function, e.g., nodes that create connections between different sectors such as between science and society.
  5. In addition, discuss which connections are considered strong or weak (the strength can be represented by the thickness of the arrow). Which connections should you be careful with? Which connections already have a good foundation of trust? Which connections need more resources to strengthen them?
  6. The network changes during the course of the project. Modify your network as new connections emerge or existing relationships fall away.
  7. If you want to connect your ego-network with different networks, you can follow the procedure described in the paper by Vehovar, Vasja et al. (2008).


  • The method gives you an easy overview of your network.
  • A large network helps to become known and to be able to fall back on the know-how of the network when problems arise.
  • The access to new sources of knowledge, ideas and/or information is one of the most important resources in a project.


  • The method is very personal and people based. However, some people do not want to be responsible for the connections or the transfer in the connection.
  • By removing people from the team, the corresponding connections can also be lost and the network must be updated.

Advice from practice

  • First create the ego network with your project team. Then, ask people in your direct nodes what other connections exist to them that you may not have captured as your indirect connections.
  • Bridging, facilitating, and cross-boundary roles are crucial for you to be able to transfer information and knowledge and foster understanding and collaboration between groups.
  • You should not always focus on growing the network, but also on strengthening existing connections.
  • For effective and efficient knowledge transfer to occur, you may need to proactively build social capital (i.e., trust, norms, mutual support, and informal relationships in a society) in the connections (see Bourdieu 2011).
Please note that the tools and methods were created as of August 2024 and all Miro Boards are editable.
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