Faced with the possibility of having to become rapidly familiar with the dynamics of a group of people I do not know, and being a math geek at heart, I am intrigued by the concept of Social Network Analysis. Graph theory meets interpersonal communication theory. Here’s an online textbook I’m reading on the subject. So far I’m skeptical about how useful it is in the long run, it might provide me with a good way to organize my accumulating knowledge of a bunch of people I might be suddenly tasked to manage. Maybe.
If you want to influence a group of people, it’d be useful to know who the “hubs” and “boundary spanners” are. Maybe a SNA model could help somewhat. The idea even has it’s own academic journal.