Assignment 3

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Visualising and Analysing Corporate Networks

Assignment Overview

From time to time, we hear conspiracy talk at the coffee shop or cyberspace about this or that powerful group (or alliance of said groups) “pulling strings” behind the scenes, we tend to dismiss or minimise such claims, even though, deep down, we may suspect that there’s some degree of truth to it, however distorted by the theorists’ slightly paranoid perception of the national economy. But perhaps our tendency to dismiss such claims as exaggerations (at best) comes from our inability to get even a slight grip on the complexity of the local corporate ownership; it’s all too vast and complicated to get any clear sense of the reality.

Thus, this assignment aims to provide you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience on how to:

  • extract appropriate data on corporates and directorships from an online database (i.e. OneSource),
  • analyse, visualise and discover the relations that link corporations and their directors into corporate elites and intercorportae networks, and
  • present your finding in graphs and other appropriate data visualization.

The goal of this assignment is to discover “networks of corporate power” within and between industries from company data by using graph visualization and network analysis tools such as NodeXL and Gephi.

Assignment Data

In this assignment, you are required to extract company and directorship data from OneSource [1]. You are required to save the extracted data in Excel or an appropriate graph data format such as GraphML format.

Recommended Best Practice

You are encouraged to approach the assignment based on the Network Analysis and Visualisation Process Model (Hansen, D.L., et. Al. 2009) as shown below.


After you have the initial question and the appropriate datasets, construct a visualization that provides an answer to your question. As you explore and analyse the data, you will find that your question evolves – very often, it will become more specific. Keep track of this evolution and the other questions that occur to you along the way. Once you have answered all the questions to your satisfaction, think of a way to present the data and the answers as clearly as possible. The presentation must be in the form of graph visualization. Before starting, write down the initial question clearly. And, as you go, maintain a wiki notebook of what you have to do to construct the visualizations and how the questions evolved. Include in the notebook where you get the data from and documentation about the format of the dataset. Describe any transformations or rearrangements of the dataset that you need to perform; in particular, describe how you get the data into the format needed by the visualization system. Keep copies of any intermediate visualizations that have helped you refine your question. After you have constructed the final visualization for presenting your answer, write a caption and a paragraph describing the visualization and how it answers the question(s) you posed. Think of the figure, the caption and the text as materials you might include in a research paper.

Visualization Software

To create the visualizations, you will be using either NodeXL or Gephi. One of the goals of this assignment is for you to learn to use and evaluate the effectiveness of these visualization tools. Please do not hesitate to consult me if you encounter problems in using the tool.

Submission details

This is an individual assignment. You are required to work on the assignment and prepare submission individually. Your completed assignment is due on 31st October 2013, by 8.30am.

You need to edit your assignment in the appropriate wiki page of the Assignment Dropbox. The title of the wiki page should be in the form of: IS428_2013-14_Term1_Assign3_FullName.

The assignment 3 wiki page should include the URL link to the web-based interactive data visualization system prepared.


Interlocking directorate

Assignment 3 Q&A

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