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Christopher Watts - ePortfolio


I am a fourth-year Doctoral Researcher in the Operational Research & Management Science (ORMS) group of Warwick Business School. I am approaching the end of a PhD linking simulation modelling, social network analysis and the sociology and social psychology of motivation. This research hopes to cast light on how problems are solved using social relations.

I tutor first-year undergraduates in QAM I and II, including statistics and linear programming, and second- and third-year undergraduates in Simulation Modelling using Simul8. I also tutor MSc MSOR students in Excel and VBA.

I received a BA (Hons) Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 1996, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology the following year. I then worked as a Business Analyst in an OR-related role for a management consultancy, and as a Business Trainer at a variety of companies in Germany. In 2004 I obtained an MSc in OR from University of Southampton. Beyond my research my interests include complexity science, philosophy, classic cinema and opera.

About My Research

There has been much interest in the past 15 years in the properties of networks - especially social networks - and how they are a product of, yet also influence, how work gets done through complex social organisation. Social network analysis looks at data based on such social relations as "who knows whom", "who talks to whom", "who works with whom" and - a recent addition - "who energises or de-energises whom". According to Rob Cross and Andrew Parker (2004):

  1. energisers motivate others to work on particular projects - especially the energisers' own projects;
  2. groups are more likely to form around energisers, and;
  3. groups with energisers are likely to out-perform those without.

My research constructs agent-based simulation models to test these claims and suggest how energisers have such positive effects, and whether there may be limits to the effects.

My base model is one by Robert Axelrod - his model of cultural influence, the behaviour of which has been reproduced and extended by other researchers. For the third of Cross & Parker's claims the model must acquire a notion of "performance". I introduced a concept of "fitness" to the model and test claim 3 by referring to problem-solving performance in a manner familiar to those who work with Optimisation Systems, such as genetic algorithms. In the longer term there may be some scope for cross-fertilisation between optimisation theory and organisation theory.


Business School

Research Group: 

Operational Research & Management Science Group (ORMS)


Professor Stewart Robinson

Second Supervisor:

Professor Ruth Davies

Thesis Title:

Energy in Social Networks

Year Started:



2004-2007 WBS Scholarship

2007-2008 WBS Half Bursary

2007-2008 ORMS Group Bursary



Christopher Watts

Contact Me

C dot J dot Watts at warwick dot ac dot uk

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