Sociograms Examples

Published on 31/07/2023

Examining sociograms examples can help you understand how the information contained in sociograms can positively impact group dynamics.

However, these examples are only pretty pictures without an explanation of what you are looking at. Do you know:

  • the context for producing the sociogram?
  • what type of sociogram is it?
  • what do the diagram components stand for?
  • how to interpret the visual representation?

What Can You Use Sociograms for?

You can use sociograms for different purposes depending on your area of specialization. Some of the most common uses include:

Identify Influential People in a Group

Sociograms reveal individuals considered the opinion shapers in a particular group. You can use this information to identify leaders who can take charge of specific tasks.

Explore Social Choice Patterns Between Group Members

Understanding people’s social choices is critical for creating inclusive environments where all individuals thrive. It is one of the main reasons teachers use sociograms in the classroom.

sociograms examples

When studying the social connections of group members, you can introduce specific changes to:

  • Promote teamwor
  • Boost morale
  • Increase productivity

Develop and Administer Remedies

The information a sociogram provides is essential for mental health practitioners. It can guide you through crafting or suggesting the best treatment plan for individuals in group therapy sessions.

The same is true for social workers, although it will largely depend on the case being worked on.

Say you are assessing a family: you can use sociograms to understand the family’s dynamics and clarify roles. It will help you to recommend the best ways to improve their relations.

If you are a social worker, the tool can assist with mapping out a patient’s case to inform their course of treatment.

Study Information Flow

Sociograms can show the flow of information within a group. Use them to create better communication patterns and prevent conflict in different settings.

If you are a manager in an organization, this information will help you improve members’ participation in different projects. It can also help you promote a culture of innovation within the organization.

Reveal Vulnerable Populations

Anthropological researchers use sociograms to reveal the vulnerable populations within a community. This is essential for creating policies that facilitate positive change within the region.

examples of sociograms

Generally, since sociograms are a sociometric technique, you can apply them in almost all social situations to explore relationship networks and enhance social cohesion.

It is worth noting that there are different types of sociograms. Each provides various information for meeting specific purposes.

Different Types of Sociograms

There are several types of sociograms, and you will come across these in different circumstances. You can have:

  • Perceptual or personal sociograms - where you create a visual map of your emotional geography as a member of a particular social environment, for example, the office.
  • Role diagram sociograms - where you identify the hidden roles of different members within a group
  • Sociograms of the moment - these diagrams display the relationship between group members at a point in time. When this time elapses, the results obtained become obsolete because the social dynamics in the group under analysis change.

However, all the sociograms mentioned above fall under two main categories:

  • network sociograms
  • egocentric sociograms

Both categories refer to the study participants as cases.

  • Network Sociogram

    A network sociogram displays the relationships between a group of cases or individuals.

    sociogram example

    Depending on the social setting, it reveals two things:

    • Whether all the members within a specific group are related or not
    • The kind of relationship the related individuals share. Are they family, friends, or colleagues at work? Is it positive or negative?
  • Egocentric Sociogram

    Egocentric sociometry reveals how different group members relate to one specific person within the group

    The focus of such sociograms is on mapping out and understanding the social connections of one person in the group. Often, they are known as the ego. Figure 3 in the examples below shows an example of an egocentric sociogram and their sociometric statuses.

What is a Sociogram Made Up Of?

A sociogram consists of a set of vertices connected by lines or edges.

  • Vertex

    Also commonly referred to as nodes, the vertex represents the cases under analysis. It may be an individual or a group. They take different shapes, such as circles, triangles, stars, etc.

    Use names, letters, or numbers in each vertex to identify different participants.

    It is also possible to use actual photographs of the participants. A good sociogram creator tool like Sometics to do this easily.

  • Edge

    Edges or vectors are lines that connect vertices in a sociogram. They reveal the relationship several participants or members of a group share.

    Usually, the lines will have arrows pointing towards or away from specific cases or individuals.

    Lines pointing towards one direction indicate a one-way relationship between members, i.e.,. one-way relationship

    On the other hand, edges pointing both ways indicate a two-way relationship. Use this two-way relationship or the line with a hatch mark social connection to show that the social connection between two or more participants is mutual.

    Some charts may show the actual relationships two or more entities share. You might find terms like: married, has met, works with, family ties, is friends with, etc., on the lines of these charts.

    It is worth mentioning that you can use various types of lines to reveal the nature of different participants' relationships. We discuss this in detail on the sociograms template page. Check it out to learn more about the symbols used to create sociograms.

How to Interpret Sociograms

To deconstruct a sociogram, follow the edges or lines to identify patterns of relationships among the participants. The edges indicate some form of social preference or choice from the group members.

You might identify three conspicuous patterns right away:

  • Stars – individuals with several lines pointing towards them. It means other members of the group chose them several times.
  • Isolates – these members might not have a single line pointing toward them or might have one line from other isolates. It shows that not many group members picked them as their preferred choice to engage in any activity.
  • Cliques – you will notice groups of individuals, usually three or more, who pick each other. The presence of cliques or sub-groups within a group may mean they exclude other group members.

You might also notice a few individuals chosen a few times, but the number of choices they have received is less than the stars. These individuals are the non-stars or non-isolates.

examples of sociogram

Generally, analyzing or interpreting a sociogram largely depends on what you want to find. In addition to identifying the stars, isolates, and cliques within the group, you might want to:

  • Identify a symbolic reflection of social cohesion within the group.
  • Understand the emotional drive behind members’ choices, i.e., are the connections transference or empathic types of relationships?

Identifying social cohesiveness within a group requires you to analyze the nature of relationships (whether positive or negative).

You can also get this information from studying the representation of mutual choices on the sociogram. If there are more positive mutual connections among most of the group members, it might mean the group is socially cohesive.

None of this explains the emotional process behind members’ choices. You need to develop a sociogram questionnaire using defined test criteria for insight into this.

Sociogram Examples

Let us look at a few examples of sociograms to see how they work.

Figure 1. A network sociogram of a group of 7 individuals (Hollander, 1978).

network sociogram of a group of 7 individuals

In this sociogram example, it is easy to see that Joel is the star, i.e., the favorite of most team members. They have chosen him several times, and all his interactions are positive.

Figure 2: Advice network created by the auditing team of a company (Huang, Hong & Eades, 2006)

Advice network created by the auditing team of a company

The diagram shows ellipses (managers), diamonds (staff auditors), and boxes (secretaries). An arrow from one person to the other shows that the said person takes advice from the one the arrowhead is facing.

In this case, it appears that Nancy is an essential asset to the company. Everyone seeks advice from her either directly or indirectly.

Figure 3: An egocentric sociogram showing a dialogue between the ego (Carlos) and five other participants (Wagner & González-Howard, 2018).

An egocentric sociogram showing a dialogue between the ego and five other participants

The left shows the outgoing conversation or responses, whereas the right indicates the incoming dialogue. The numbers represent the average number of exchanges or ties per minute.

From this diagram, it is easy to tell that Ms. Brennan and Jessica are the most active participants in the dialogue with Carlos. They have more exchanges per minute with him than the rest of the team.

As we have seen, you can apply sociograms in several situations and in different ways for various purposes.

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