Neighbor Networks: Competitive Advantage Local and Personal

Paperback | August 15, 2011

byRonald S. Burt

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There is a moral to this book, a bit of Confucian wisdom often ignored in social network analysis: "Worry not that no one knows you, seek to be worth knowing." This advice is contrary to the usual social network emphasis on securing relations with well-connected people. Neighbor Networks examines the cases of analysts, bankers, and managers, and finds that rewards, in fact, do go to people with well-connected colleagues. Look around your organization. Theindividuals doing well tend to be affiliated with well-connected colleagues. However, the advantage obvious to the naked eye is misleading. It disappears when an individual's own characteristics are held constant. Well-connected people do not have to affiliate with people who have nothing to offer. This book shows that affiliation with well-connected people adds stabilitybut no advantage to a person's own connections. Advantage is concentrated in people who are themselves well connected. This book is a trail of argument and evidence that leads to the conclusion that individuals make a lot of their own network advantage. The social psychology of networks moves to center stage and personal responsibility emerges as a key theme. In the end, the social is affirmed, but with an emphasison individual agency and the social psychology of networks. The research gives new emphasis to Coleman's initial image of social capital as a forcing function for human capital. This book is for academics and researchers of organizational and network studies interested in a new angle on familiar data, and as a supplemental reading in graduate courses on social networks, stratification, or organizations. A variety of research settings are studied, and diverse theoreticalperspectives are taken. The book's argument and evidence are supported by ample appendices for readers interested in background details.

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There is a moral to this book, a bit of Confucian wisdom often ignored in social network analysis: "Worry not that no one knows you, seek to be worth knowing." This advice is contrary to the usual social network emphasis on securing relations with well-connected people. Neighbor Networks examines the cases of analysts, bankers, and m...

Ronald Burt is the Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He studies the social structure of competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets. He is the author of Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, (Harvard University Press, 1992) an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.92 inPublished:August 15, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199691916

ISBN - 13:9780199691913

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Table of Contents

Prologue1. IntroductionPart I: Establishing Secondhand Brokerage2. Process Clues in Network Spillover3. Balkanized Networks4. More Connected NetworksPart II: Testing the Perimeter5. Industry Networks6. Closure and Stability7. Mishpokhe, NotPart III: Exploring Implications8. Bent PreferencesAppendices and References

Editorial Reviews

`If you are a network specialist, or want to become one, there are three reasons why you should read this book. First, it relies on an exhaustive review of literatureThis book will provide you with an accurate picture of the works and authors that really matter in the field The other reasonshave more to do with the findings themselves... Even if you are not a network specialist and do not wish to become one, there are also three reasons why you should like the book. First you can read it as a textbook case study about theory building and learn interesting lessons... The second reasonis that this book also presents a number of inspiring ideas and tips on how to use graphical representations and descriptive statistics to make your point, as well as on how to check for patterns in your data and examine rival explanations.' Barthelemy Chollet, M@n@gement vol 13, no 5