SOC 233 November 4, 2011
Network Theory Con’t…
Slogan for: Granovetter – “It’s not what you know, but who you know, and the relationship you have
with those you know.”
Granovetter is known as the most influential person in Network Theory.
Survey of 282 professional, technical and managerial workers (100 were personally
Studied how people went about obtaining their jobs.
Of the 282, 54 found jobs through personal contacts.
Conclusion – Weak ties are an important resource in occupational mobility; weak ties are a very
important resource to obtain a job.
Jobs that were found through weak ties, were found to be the “better” jobs; higher paying jobs
and more job satisfaction.
Note – From a macro perspective, weak ties play a role in effecting social cohesion.
Even with a weak tie, all individuals have the same access to the same information.
We believe that we obtain most of our resources from close individuals (i.e., strong ties), but
this is not the case.
Q – What does this tell us about interpersonal ties?
Granovetter highlights the importance of acquaintances in social networks.
More novel information flows to individuals through weak rather than strong ties; if you’re using
strong ties, the information you’re getting is already the information you have at your disposal.
Individuals with a few weak ties are disadvantaged compared to individuals with multiple weak
Note – The more weak ties you have, the better off you are.
Produces a stronger knowledge-base.
Expanding/broadening your horizons.
Weak Tie Hypothesis
Weak Tie Hypothesis: If A is linked to both B and C, then there is a greater probability that B and C are
linked to each other.
Weak ties will function as the crucial bridge between any two densely knit clumps of close
Higher probability that you, and the friend of your best friend (i.e., your strong tie), will have a
tie. Location of Nodes
Q – Who is at the core and who deviates from the core?
Where is the node in regards to the center and periphery?
Q – Why are Networks Important?
1. Intuitive: Goods travel through contacts between actors, which can reflect a power distribution or
influence attitudes and behaviours.
Our understanding of social life improves if we account for this social space.
2. Less Intuitive: Patterns of inter-actor contac can have effects on the spread of goods or power
dynamics that could not be seen
We need to step back from studying individuals, and start looking at structures.
Structures heavily influence the flow and dynamics of ties.
Network Exchange Theory
Builds on the benefits of both network and exchange theory.
Network theory ability to understand networks of relationships in terms of their structure.
Exchange theory has a real strength in understanding the relations between actors (i.e., more
Network Theory = Structure
Exchange Theory = Relations
Note – Network Exchange Theory looks at social changes that can occur within the larger network;
exchanges that take place within the network.
How power is distributed and exchanged.
Exchange Network: A set of actors linked together directly through exchange relations.
1. A conenection between two exchange relations is either positive o