How to Assess Relationship Intensity

How to Assess Relationship Intensity

Next, you can consider the quality of connections in your network by assessing the intensity of your relationships. Our relationship-intensity scale ranges from simple awareness of each other to full integration. The emphasis is not on the frequency of interactions, but on the degree of integration and involvement in terms of your goals, decision-making, budgets, and actions. The levels of our scale include:

  1. AwarenessHaving basic awareness of what a relational partner does (e.g. understanding of services offered, resources available, mission/goals).
  2. CooperationInformally exchanging information, attending meetings together, and sharing in-kind resources. 
  3. CoordinationSynchronizing activities for the mutual benefit of services and/or programs (e.g., sharing proprietary data, timing events/activities together).
  4. Integration: Entering into mutual, binding relationships that support work in related content areas (e.g., through contracts, grants, MOUs, pooled funding with collective implementation).  

How to Assess Your Relationship Intensity:

  1. Open the Relationship Filters” on the left (click the handshake icon).
  2. Under “Color By,” click the dropdown menu and select the ‘relationship intensity’ question.
  3. Use the controls on the right to zoom in and out and move nodes by clicking and dragging them. Use the node settings button to save or reset node positions.
Click each line color on the legend to the right to filter relationships by intensity. As lines disappear, you can get a sense of the intensity of the partnership between each set of networks. You can see which members cooperate, coordinate, or integrate, as well as those only aware of each other.

When thinking about relational integration, we tend to revert to the conventional wisdom that “more is better,” and of course a highly integrated relationship may yield many benefits. Keep in mind, however, that there are also drawbacks to high integration: the greater the degree of integration, the more time and effort the relationship likely requires. A network with relatively high percentages of integrated relationships may be at risk for member burnout and eventual disengagement.

Next, we'll show you how to explore network demographics across your partnerships.

Next Article: How to Explore Network Demographics

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