Richard Ogle, Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas (Harv. Bus. School 2007) at 20, explains that the promulgation and exploration of network theory evolved from work on complexity theory. This blog has skimmed several concepts from network theory (See my post of May 11, 2010: network analysis with 6 references.).
This blog has not, however, attempted a synthesis. A network model of a legal department would point out nodes – people who link to other people as part of providing legal services – and the links between them (perhaps measured by frequency and importance). The network extends outside the department to clients and even farther out to all the vendors and law firms that supply goods and services.
But a depiction of the network of people and relationships between them only gives part of the picture for a legal department. A network of concepts and ideas exists concurrently. These include the values, knowledge, cultural expectations of the department, and its surrounding environment. Thirdly, in another dimension is the network of resources that enable the department to function, be they technological capabilities, physical plant, or other support functions. In other words, a network of networks.