Networks, Groups, Societies, and Bureaucracies notes Oct 7 2008

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23 Aug 2010
Networks, Groups, Societies, and Bureaucracies
³Its a Small World´
y although film acting stretches back more than a century- has involved people in many
y half-million people who have ever acted in films form a pretty small world
y Travers, Milgram (1969) conducted study: asked 300 randomly selected people in Nebraska
and Kansas to mail a document to a complete stranger, a stockbroker in Boston
y However, the people could not mail the document directly to the stockbroker. They had to
mail it to a person they knew on a first-name basis who, in turn, could send it only to a
person they knew on a first-name basis, and so forth
y defined this passing of a letter from one person to another as a link or a ³degree of
y thought it would take many degrees of separation, to get the letter to Boston stockbroker-
the average was about six
y no more than six degrees of separation separate any two people in the United States
Network Analysis
y Although an individual may know a small number of people: family members, friends,
co-workers, etc, others know more ppl who extend far beyond that individuals personal
y Ex: I may not know the author of this article but my prof probably does or at knows
someone, who knows them (no more than 3 links of separation)
y although our personal networks are small, they lead quickly to much larger networks. We live
in a small world because our social networks connect us to the larger world
y Social Network: a bounded set of individuals linked by the exchange of material or emotional
resources, everything from money to friendship
y The patterns of exchange determine the boundaries of the network. Members exchange
resources more frequently with each other than with non-members
y Social networks may be formal (defined in writing) or informal (defined only in practice)
y Each of your network members is linked to other people- connects you to people you have
never met, creating a ³small world´ that extends far beyond your personal network
y The units of analysis or nodes in a network can be individuals, groups, organizations, and
even countries
Finding A Job
y You have strong ties to people who are close to you, such as family members and friends
y You have weak ties to mere acquaintances, such as people you meet at parties and friends of
y Granovetter found that weak ties are more important than strong ties in finding a job
y Mere acquaintances are more likely to provide useful information about employment
opportunities than friends or family members
y people who are close to you typically share overlapping networks- the information they can
provide about job opportunities is often redundant
y mere acquaintances are likely to be connected to diverse networks- provide information
about many different job openings and- introductions to many different potential employers.
y people typically have more weak ties than strong ties, the sum of weak ties holds more
information about job opportunities than the sum of strong ties
Urban Networks, Scientific Innovation, and the Spread of HIV/AIDS
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