Friday, February 08, 2008

Burt's Views

I have been reading Ronald Burt's book called "Brokerage and Closure" to gain a better understanding of his view of social capital. Here are a few points that I have found interesting as I have read:

The value of a relationship is not defined inside the relationship; it is defined by the social context around the relationship" (Brokerage and Closure, pg. 11).

The "working definition" of a structural hole is the relationship between two people is a hole-spanning bridge when there is no effective indirect connection between the people. However, Burt does not wish to imply that the concept of a structural hole has an absolute meaning. He explains that structural holes could come and go by simply changing the population size of the network being analyzed. He argues that the same definitional issue exists for the absolute meaning of a relationship, a fundamental element of network theory (Brokerage and Closure, pg. 24).So, as an example, the structural hole in the network above is the relationship marked blue, while the value of that relationship is defined by the social context, or the other nodes in the network (i.e., A, B, G, E, F, H, and I).

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