(Un)intended consequences of networking on individual and network-level efficiency

Kyosuke Tanaka*, Emőke Ágnes Horvát

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research shows that individuals benefit from setting up their personal networks strategically. There are two fundamental networking approaches: structural change, which involves the addition and deletion of communication ties, and frequency change, which means an increase or decrease of communication on existing ties. Existing literature has focused predominantly on structural change, leaving the potential of frequency change understudied. To investigate the differential effects of structural and frequency change on the efficiency of information flow through a network, we conduct simulations of networking approaches on a diverse set of real-world directed weighted communication networks. Our results indicate that, overall, frequency change is associated with higher efficiency than structural change in all but one of the studied cases. Structural change has a strong direct effect on individuals who actively modify their personal network. Surprisingly, our simulations also show that the indirect effects of frequency change (i.e., an individual’s ties are reshaped due to others’ actions) can exceed direct ones. Our results highlight the value of the so far less studied frequency change and suggest that using targeted network alterations can result in gains for information flow at the scale of the entire network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
JournalApplied Network Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Communication networks
  • Computer simulations
  • Edge alteration
  • Efficiency
  • Reciprocity
  • Triadic closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Mathematics


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