Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science
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Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science

Theory and Applications

Edited by Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Alexandros Paraskevas and Christopher Day

This comprehensive Handbook is aimed at both academic researchers and practitioners in the field of complexity science. The book’s 26 chapters, specially written by leading experts, provide in-depth coverage of research methods based on the sciences of complexity. The research methods presented are illustratively applied to practical cases and are readily accessible to researchers and decision makers alike.
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Chapter 21: Leadership network structure and influence dynamics

Theory and Applications

Dr Michael Gabbay


This chapter describes a quantitative methodology for the analysis and modelling of leadership networks which leverages research in complex systems, mainly nonlinear dynamical systems theory and network science. A prototype software package, PORTEND, is introduced implementing the methodology and using data from expert analysts to assess policy and factional outcomes with respect to the internal dynamics of a system of political actors. The methodology includes structural analysis methods, such as algorithms for analysing issue positions and community structure, and a simulation of nonlinear social influence dynamics. PORTEND’s capabilities are illustrated for an application to Iran involving fifteen leadership elites and seven issues. The factional structure of the Iranian leadership group is analysed first based on their issue positions, then with respect to the network of inter-actor influence relationships, and finally by a synthesis of the issue and network data. An application of the nonlinear social influence simulation to the nuclear issue is presented and its implications are discussed with respect to Iranian decision-making concerning the 2013_2015 nuclear negotiations.

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