How can we understand the interaction between the social network topology of a population and the patterns of group affiliation in that population? Each aspect influences the other: social networks provide the conduits via which groups recruit new members, and groups provide the context in which new social ties are formed. From an organisational ecology perspective, groups can be considered to compete with one another for the time and energy of their members. Such competition is likely to have an impact on the way in which social structure and group affiliation co-evolve. While many social simulation models exhibit group formation as a part of their behaviour (e.g., opinion clusters or converged cultures), models that explicitly focus on group affiliation are rare. We describe and explore the behaviour of a model in which, distinct from most current models, individual nodes can belong to multiple groups simultaneously. By varying the capacity of individuals to belong to groups, and the costs associated with group membership, we explore the effect of different levels of competition on population structure and group dynamics.
- social networks, group affiliation, simulation