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Network Location and Policy-Oriented Behavior: An Analysis of Two-Mode Networks of Coauthored Documents Concerning Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region


  • Originally presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, June 14–18, 2011.

  • This study is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-funded Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA), which seeks to improve the intersection between science and policy in the Great Lakes region.

Ken Frank, PhD, is a professor in Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education as well as in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. His interests include the study of schools as organizations, social structures of students and teachers and school decision-making, and social capital. Dr. Frank's current projects include a study of how schools respond to the accountability standards of No Child Left Behind, how junior teachers are inculcated into the profession of teaching, how adolescents respond to their social contexts in schools, and how the decisions about natural resource use in small communities are embedded in social contexts.

I-Chien Chen is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. Her interests include the study of social capital on students' status attainment and well-being, knowledge diffusion, and coordinated behavior of children care organizations. Her current projects include a study of how adolescent subgroup networks influence aspiration and college attendance, how inter-organizational network improved the effectiveness of resources and information coordination, and how scientific knowledge of climate change engage and diffuse in Great Lake Region. Her work has appeared in Taiwanese Journal of Sociology, International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, and Journal of Library and Information Science.

Youngmi Lee [corresponding author] is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at Kyonggi University. Her research focuses on local economic development policy, network management and leadership, collaborative governance, and social network analysis. Her work has appeared in Public Administration Review, Policy Studies Journal, and Internal Review of Public Administration. Email:

Scott Kalafatis is a Ph.D. student at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Michigan. He holds an M.S. degree in Environmental Policy and Planning and an M.U.P. in Economic Development from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the facilitation of the use of climate science in policymaking and the cultivation of adaptive capacity.

Tingqiao Chen is a graduate student in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Her major is Measurement and Quantitative Methods. She is currently working on a project studying dissemination of climate change knowledge among educators in the Great Lakes region.

Yun-Jia Lo is a doctoral student in Measurement and Quantitative Methods from College of Education and a consultant in Center of Statistical Training and Consulting at Michigan State University. She is also a research associate in the project “Useful to Usable (U2U): Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers.” Her research focuses on causal inference models and social network analysis. Her work has appeared in Journal of the National Medical Association, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, American Journal of Human Biology, and Evolution and Human Behavior.

Maria Carmen Lemos is Professor of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also a Senior Policy Analyst with the Udall Center for Studies of Public Policy. She has a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) and focuses her research on public policymaking in Latin America and the U.S., especially related to the human dimensions of global change, the co-production of science and policy, and the role of technocrats and scientific knowledge in policymaking. In recent years, a substantial portion of this research has been applied to the areas of adaptive capacity building and adaptation to climate change, especially in the areas of water management, agriculture, and urban planning.


This study explores how a scientist's location in science-based policy networks can affect her policy-oriented behaviors. In particular, we hypothesize that those scientists who fill structural holes in their networks will be more likely than others to engage in policy-oriented behaviors. The network data are defined by scientists' coauthorship on policy documents regarding climate change in the Great Lakes. We employ a two-mode network analysis to identify clusters of scientists who coauthored similar documents, and relative to those clusters, we identify those who fill structural holes by bridging between clusters. We find that those scientists who bridged between clusters were more likely to engage in policy-oriented behaviors of policy advocacy and advising than were others in the network. This is an example of a link between network location and policy-oriented behavior indicative of the broader phenomenon of how individuals exert agency, given structural constraints.