Network Analysis of Clients of the CVD
Self-organization is the ability of a dynamical system to produce structures which organize themselves. Self-organization can occur in social networks where people are well connected. If people fail to connect, they often miss the opportunity to develop healthy relationships and receive feedback on their behaviour. Their isolation often prevents them for having a partner, a job or hobbies.
Almende developed the Individual Network Quotient (INQ) to measure the degree in which people are connected to society. INQ is a result of the following parameters:
- variety of social networks someone engages in (family, work, friends);
- amount of contacts that someone has in all these networks;
- frequency of contact (daily, weekly, monthly).
In an extended communication scan, Almende found that homeless people and people living in shelter homes are extremely isolated from society; their average INQ proved to be 0.31. This means that their contacts are very limited and that they only communicate within their own ‘scene'. By comparison: people with average, so called healthy social networks, have an INQ of about 0.75.
Stimulating self-organization among the homeless therefore starts with enhancing their communication with the ‘outside world'. Almende formulated projects that would result in a dramatic rise of the homeless' social contacts. By measuring their INQ yearly, care providers can monitor whether projects stimulating self-organization are successful or not.