Using software for social network analysis the Danish magazine Danske Kommuner in cooperation with the Danish International Center for Analytical Reporting (DICAR) and Paul Walmsley from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) mapped out the connections
METODE: Social network analysis and the network of Danish mayors.
Denmark has 271 municipalities and an equal number of mayors. (2004)
Using software for social network analysis the Danish magazine Danske Kommuner in cooperation with the Danish International Center for Analytical Reporting (DICAR) and Paul Walmsley from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) mapped out the connections and interactions between these 271 mayors.
The purpose was to find out which of the mayors were the most influential. This is of interest since the influential mayors are able to use their influence to reach political and personal goals.
You would think, that the mayors didn’t talk that much to each other. They all have their own “businesses” to run, but the social network analysis showed that they do talk – a lot.
They try to learn from each other. Getting good ideas for example on how to run the municipality, how to deal with the city council and how to manage the employees.
But they also pool their influence to take care of the local or regional interests of one particular mayor or a group of mayors. Using this influence they can lobby and work for a wide range of issues including new infrastructure, sports events and government funds.
The mayors also compete with each other for good taxpayers, big businesses and tourist among other things. They can use their influence to get ahead in this competition.
To do the analysis I had to collect data from the interest organization “Local Government Denmark”, the political parties, the municipality websites, a supplier of business information (www.biq.dk) and articles archives.
The analysis was based on formalised network only such as boards, clubs and organizations and it showed that three mayors from smaller municipalities were the most influence in “the mayors’ club”. They each knew 46 of the other mayors personally from different networks.
The three mayors confirmed in interviews that they were very active in “the mayors’ club” and that they often used their influence to help other mayors even from different political parties. In exchange they got help them selves. They described it as a “give and take” situation.
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