Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition / Edition 1

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Overview


Ronald Burt describes the social structural theory of competition that has developed through the last two decades. The contrast between perfect competition and monopoly is replaced with a network model of competition. The basic element in this account is the structural hole: a gap between two individuals with complementary resources or information. When the two are connected through a third individual as entrepreneur, the gap is filled, creating important advantages for the entrepreneur. Competitive advantage is a matter of access to structural holes in relation to market transactions.
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Editorial Reviews

Acta Sociologica

The theoretical ideas in [Structural Holes] are bold, creative and parsimonious... there is superb handling of data. Both in his theorizing and in his methodology, in all brevity, Burt displays that rare quality which C. Wright Mills termed 'the sociological imagination'.
— Richard Swedberg

Acta Sociologica - Richard Swedberg
The theoretical ideas in [Structural Holes] are bold, creative and parsimonious... there is superb handling of data. Both in his theorizing and in his methodology, in all brevity, Burt displays that rare quality which C. Wright Mills termed 'the sociological imagination'.
Bernard Barber
Structural Holes makes an important contribution to clarifying the connection between macrosociological and microsociological levels of analysis... By combining sociological theory and outstanding empirical research from different interaction contexts, Burt creates a model for sociological work in general.
American Journal of Sociology - Mark Shanley
In this well-crafted and rich volume, Ronald Burt provides an integration of his previous network studies that makes a substantial contribution to research on the social structure of economic phenomena...The book succeeds on several levels.
Contemporary Sociology - Barry Markovsky
Structural Holes proves that basic and applied research, micro and macro levels of analysis, and parsimonious and opulent theorizing are not mutual exclusions.
Journal of Marketing - George M. Zinkhan
A major contribution to structural sociology that will stimulate the imaginations of scholars in disciplines as diverse as sociology, economics, strategy, and marketing.
Robert K. Merton
A sociological masterwork of structural analysis distinguished in every aspect: theoretical, methodological, empirical. Bound to be a standard-setting book for years to come.
Paul Dimaggio
Structural Holes is an important book that works on many levels. It is a major contribution to economic and organizational sociology that will stimulate the imaginations of students of families, international politics, and individual personality as well; a work of extraordinary sophistication that is engaging enough to assign to master students; and a development of rational models of action that combines the elegance of game theory with the realism of network analysis.
Don Ronchi
Structural Holes is to management what the X-ray was to medicine. Ron Burt has made visible what before could only be inferred: the hidden structure of the "informal organization." Those who gain the "sight" this book offers will have acquired an unprecedented power to lead.
American Journal of Sociology

In this well-crafted and rich volume, Ronald Burt provides an integration of his previous network studies that makes a substantial contribution to research on the social structure of economic phenomena...The book succeeds on several levels.
— Mark Shanley

Contemporary Sociology

Structural Holes proves that basic and applied research, micro and macro levels of analysis, and parsimonious and opulent theorizing are not mutual exclusions.
— Barry Markovsky

Journal of Marketing

A major contribution to structural sociology that will stimulate the imaginations of scholars in disciplines as diverse as sociology, economics, strategy, and marketing.
— George M. Zinkhan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674843714
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 1,074,034
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald S. Burt is Professor, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. THE SOCIAL STRUCTURE OF COMPETITION

Opportunity and Capital

Information

Structural Holes

Control and the Tertius Gaudens

Entrepreneurs

Secondary Holes

Structural Autonomy

Summary

2. FORMALIZING THE ARGUMENT

Network Data

Redundancy

Constraint

Hole Signature

Structural Autonomy

Summary

3. TURNING A PROFIT

Product Networks and Market Profit

The Study Population

Hole Effects

Market Hole Signatures

Summary

Appendix: Weighing Alternatives

4. GETTING AHEAD

Contact Networks and Manager Achievement

The Study Population

Hole Effects

Hierarchy

Institutional Holes

Selecting a Network

Summary

Appendix A: Weighing Alternatives

Appendix B: Causal Order

5. PLAYER-STRUCTURE DUALITY

Structural Unit of Analysis

Players and Structures

Escape from Attributes

No Escape

Summary

6. COMMIT AND SURVIVE

Holes and Heterogeneity

Interface and the Commit Hypothesis

Population Ecology and the Survival Hypothesis

Summary

7. STRATEGIC EMBEDDING AND INSTITUTIONAL RESIDUE

The Other Tertius

Strategy Hypothesis

Formal Organization as Social Residue

Personality as Emotional Residue

Summary

Notes

References

Index

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