Article

Universal Mechanisms in the Growth of Voluntary Organizations

11/2003;
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We analyze the growth statistics of Swedish trade unions and find a universal functional form for the probability distribution of growth rates of union size, and a power law dependence of the standard deviation of this distribution on the number of members of the union. We also find that the typical size and the typical number of local chapters scales as a power law of the union size. Intriguingly, our results are similar to results reported for other human organizations of a quite different nature. Our findings are consistent with the possibility that universal mechanisms may exist governing the growth patterns of human organizations.

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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the timing of messages sent in two online communities with respect to growth fluctuations and long-term correlations. We find that the timing of sending and receiving messages comprises pronounced long-term persistence. Considering the activity of the community members as growing entities, i.e. the cumulative number of messages sent (or received) by the individuals, we identify non-trivial scaling in the growth fluctuations which we relate to the long-term correlations. We find a connection between the scaling exponents of the growth and the long-term correlations which is supported by numerical simulations based on peaks over threshold. In addition, we find that the activity on directed links between pairs of members exhibits long-term correlations, indicating that communication activity with the most liked partners may be responsible for the long-term persistence in the timing of messages. Finally, we show that the number of messages, $M$, and the number of communication partners, $K$, of the individual members are correlated following a power-law, $K\sim M^\lambda$, with exponent $\lambda\approx 3/4$.
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