Advances in Social Network Analysis: Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences


Edited by: Stanley Wasserman & Joseph Galaskiewicz

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    To Andrew and Eliot


    We would like to thank the National Science Foundation, and particularly Jim Blackman, Cheryl Eavey, and Bill Bainbridge, who have supported our research over the past years. We thank Scott Long for inviting us to edit a special issue of his journal, Sociological Methods & Research, and for proposing the idea of this edited volume to us. Five of the papers in this volume originally appeared in Volume 22, Issue 1, of SMR. C. Deborah Laughton at Sage Publications deserves a large thank you for her patience while we were slowly pushing our authors to finish their chapters for this volume. We also appreciate her encouragement over the 3 years that this volume was “in the works.” But, most important, we would like to thank our authors for their diligence and cooperation. We are truly pleased that they have all written marvelous chapters and that we are able to bring this collection to you, the reader.

    Readers can contact us via electronic mail ( and if correspondence is desired.

    Introduction: Advances in the Social and Behavioral Sciences from Social Network Analysis

    JosephGalaskiewicz, StanleyWasserman

    We put together this edited volume to show how social network analysis has been used to advance substantive research in the social and behavioral sciences. The “instructions” given to our authors asked them to describe how social network concepts and methods have helped to advance their specific substantive disciplines. These disciplines, from social psychology and diffusion research, to anthropology and communications, and to politics and organization studies, span the range of present-day social network analysis applications.

    The range of applications using the social network paradigm has grown exponentially since major methodological breakthroughs in the 1970s and early 1980s. Although important social network research is still being done in the small group laboratory and field sites as it was in the 1940s and 1950s, there has been an explosion of research since the early 1970s on social networks in modern societies. Much of this research relies heavily on survey methods. No doubt the social network perspective has grown in popularity because it enables researchers to study not only social actors but the social relationships among these actors. Of all the research using the network perspective, one fundamental finding stands out: Many important aspects of societal life are organized as networks. The importance of networks in society has put social network analysis at the forefront of social and behavioral science research.

    AUTHORS' NOTE: We thank Laura Koehly and Pip Pattison for comments on this short introduction. Our research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois.

    The authors in this volume write for many different audiences, yet they all work within the common network tradition. We hope that this volume will give the reader insight into what the network perspective can do to advance our understanding of individual and institutional behavior.

    Before going further, we should note that this volume is not a collection of papers presenting new methods; rather, we have asked the authors to write primarily about substantive areas and only about network methods secondarily. We view each chapter as the “expert” opinion on the particular area—such opinions that we ourselves could not write. Thus the collection allows the reader to gain a complete understanding of the importance of network analysis directly from the experts. Books on network methodology are far more common than such collections. We view this collection as a complement to such methodology texts (particularly Wasserman & Faust, 1994).

    The Network Perspective

    What constitutes the social network perspective? The most distinguishing feature is that social network analysis focuses on relationships among social entities and on the patterns and implications of these relationships (Wasserman & Faust, 1994, p. 6). Instead of analyzing individual behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs, social network analysis focuses its attention on social entities or actors in interaction with one another and on how these interactions constitute a framework or structure that can be studied and analyzed in its own right. These principles distinguish social network analysis from other research approaches (see Wellman, 1988).

    In addition to the use of relational concepts that quantify these interactions, the social network perspective makes a variety of assumptions about actors, relations, and the resulting structure (Wasserman & Faust, 1994, p. 7) such as the following:

    • Actors and their actions are viewed as interdependent rather than independent, autonomous units.
    • Relational ties (linkages) between actors are channels for transfer or “flow” of resources (either material, like money, or nonmaterial, like information, political support, friendship, or respect).
    • Network models focusing on individuals view the network structural environment as providing opportunities for or constraints on individual action.
    • Network models conceptualize structure (whether social, economic, political, and so forth) as enduring patterns of relations among actors.

    Clearly, then, a central item on the network agenda is to bridge the gap between the micro- and macro-order. At the micro level, network analysts examine dyads, triads, other small subgroups, and ego-centered networks. Such structures are unique to the network perspective. At the macro level, attention is often given to the examination of configurations of entire networks and the identification of structural positions and components of the network.

    One way that network analysis provides a “bridge” between the micro- and macro-orders is that successive levels are “embedded” in one another. Individual relational ties are the crucial components of dyads; dyads constitute triads; triads are contained in higher order subgraphs; and all are embedded in complete networks. The network itself is often embedded in a larger institutional context (whether social, political, economic, epidemiological, or whatever); further, even the institutional order is embedded in myriad networks that connect it to other institutional sectors in a national and international context. The beauty of network analysis is that it allows a researcher to tie together so many interdependent parts that constitute micro- and macro-social orders. One can understand how changes in one level of social organization (for example, the dyadic) affects another level (for example, the network as a whole), which in turn affects the institutional order. A useful way to think about this is to envision society as a giant “Tinkertoy” creation where the blocks are actors and the sticks are the relationships between them. There are many ways to study the resulting structural creation. Social network analysis provides a ready framework for linking the micro- and macro-orders.

    Another way that network analysis bridges the gap between the micro- and the macro-order is that it allows the researcher to pay attention to individual action or behavior within the context of larger structural configurations. Individual actors can be viewed as passive players, captives of the structures that they are embedded in. A great deal of work configured network effects in this way. More recently, researchers have been looking at actors as “network entrepreneurs,” exploiting their network position to further their own interests. Groups and institutions similarly are sometimes portrayed as “victims” of the networks that operate within them, but they also can exploit structural conditions for their own gain. The appeal of this new approach is that, while the former merely reaffirms the configuration of the macro-social order, the latter allows for change. As network entrepreneurs strategically use their networks to further their own interests, they will in turn change the network itself.

    This Edited Volume

    The chapters in this volume may at first appear to be a disjointed lot, yet they all speak the language of network analysis. All focus on how the network perspective has improved research and given new theoretical insights. The language of network analysis, which allows a researcher to optimally exploit the network perspective, is quite unique; social network analysis has a code all its own. Because our space in this introduction is limited, we cannot give a careful, detailed history of network analysis, nor can we spend pages defining terms and developing the many methods of network analysis. Instead, we refer the reader to several sources that present a lucid description of the key concepts and terms of the field. Historical overviews are given by Galaskiewicz and Wasserman (1993), Wasserman and Faust (1994), Berkowitz (1982), Wellman (1988), Wellman and Berkowitz (1988), Burt (1982), and many others. Methodological reviews can be found in the texts of Wasserman and Faust (1994), Scott (1992), Marsden (1990), and Knoke and Kuklinski (1982).

    For those of you who are “doing networks” for the first time, we recommend that you peruse these overviews and reviews before you venture into this volume. Although most authors take considerable care to explain all their terms, they, like us, had a page limit and they had to take some knowledge of network analysis for granted. We recommend that this volume be used in conjunction with a network methodological text, to give the network novice a complete, substantive, and methodological introduction to social network analysis. We do note that this volume is unique—no other collection has presented social network analysis from the perspective of such a wide variety of disciplines.

    Space prevents us from describing at length the chapters in this volume. As one can see, the chapters fall naturally into three parts:

    • Social psychology and diffusion
    • Anthropology and communication
    • Politics and organizations

    In Part I, the chapter by Peter V. Marsden and Noah E. Friedkin explores the way network analysts have studied social influence processes. They argue that social relations provide a basis through which one actor alters the behavior or attitudes of another. Martina Morris shows how the spread of disease through human populations can be better understood by looking at the patterned networks of social contact. There are obvious implications here for understanding the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Michael E. Walker, Stanley Wasserman, and Barry Wellman review the research on social support networks. They focus explicitly on the flow of resources (from information to money to whatever) among individuals and the consequences this has for individual well-being. Finally, Philippa Pattison describes how network concepts have advanced the field of cognitive psychology. She is particularly excited about the prospects of using different definitions of structural position to define social contexts or “locales.”

    The second part of the volume presents three papers on anthropology and communication. Jeffrey C. Johnson reviews the many contributions made by anthropology to network analysis, taking as a start Clyde Mitchell's wonderful review in the 1974 Annual Review of Anthropology. Highlighted in this chapter are advances in social cognition, kinship, and especially ethnography. Donald Stone Sade and Malcolm M. Dow describe nonhuman primate networks, giving a brief history of such studies, focusing on dominance hierarchies and social roles and structure. Finally, Ronald E. Rice reviews research on computer-mediated communication systems, such as computers and telecommunication systems. Network analysis has helped answer many research questions about such systems, such as whether systems cause certain outcomes, how actors interact to process resources and information, and what kind of system data to gather (including questions of accuracy and validity).

    The third part of the volume focuses on politics and organizations. Much of this work has been done in sociology and management science. David Krackhardt and Daniel Brass argue that many of the topics now under the umbrella of organizational behavior (for example, motivation, leadership, job design, turnover/absenteeism, and work attitudes) can be enlightened and extended using a network approach. They review several works on intraorganizational relations and power and influence in the workplace. Mark S. Mizruchi and Joseph Galaskiewicz focus on interorganizational relations. They show how network concepts have contributed greatly to resource dependency theory, the social class framework, and the “new” institutional analysis. Phipps Arabie and Yoram Wind review the work that has been done on social networks and marketing. In addition to the marketing channel and buying center literatures, marketing researchers are now using network analysis to better understand consumer behavior. Finally, David Knoke describes the voluminous work on social networks and elite decision making. In addition to reviewing the early work on elite networks, he describes recent research on interest group “networking” and the social construction of policy domains.

    We hope all these chapters will soon be “dated.” Our strategy for this volume is to send a “wake-up call” to researchers in different substantive areas and disciplines and to show them how theory and research in their fields can be extended using the social network approach. If our effort is a success, then all of these chapters will have to be revised in 5 years or so as a new generation of network analysts revolutionize the social and behavioral sciences once again.

    Berkowitz, S. D. (1982). An introduction to structural analysis: The network approach to social research. Toronto: Butterworths.
    Burt, R. S. (1982). Towards a structural theory of action: Network models of social structure, perceptions, and action. New York: Academic Press.
    Galaskiewicz, J., & Wasserman, S. (1993). Social network analysis: Concepts, methodology, and directions for the 1990s. Sociological Methods & Research, 22, 3–22.
    Knoke, D., & Kuklinski, J. H. (1982). Network analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
    Marsden, P. V. (1990). Network data and measurement. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 435–463.
    Scott, J. (1992). Social network analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
    Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Wellman, B. (1988). Structural analysis: From method and metaphor to theory and substance. In B.Wellman & S. D.Berkowitz, (Eds.), Social structures: A network approach (pp. 19–61). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Wellman, B., & Berkowitz, S. D. (1988). Introduction: Studying social structures. In B.Wellman & S. D.Berkowitz (Eds.), Social structures: A network approach (pp. 1–14). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • About the Contributors

    Phipps Arable is Chair of Marketing and Professor of Management and Psychology at the Rutgers Faculty of Management. Formerly Professor of Psychology and Sociology at the University of Illinois, he has also been visiting Professor of Computer Science at University College, Dublin. His research interests include multidimensional scaling, clustering and other forms of combinatorial data analysis, models of judgment, and social networks. He is founding editor of Journal of Classification.

    Daniel J. Brass is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Smeal College of Business Administration at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his M.A. in labor relations and Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Illinois. His research interests focus on the relationship between organizational technology and structure (viewed from a social network perspective) and individual jobs, attitudes, behaviors, and power. Much of his research deals with social networks and power.

    Malcolm M. Dow is Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Northwestern University. Over the past decade he has published a series of papers on the statistical analysis of network data, using both continuous and categorical statistical models. He is the Editor for Social/Cultural Anthropology for the Journal of Quantitative Anthropology. Currently he is examining integrator role behaviors across formal subgroup boundaries within a multinational network organization.

    Noah E. Friedkin is Professor of Education and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recent articles include “Theoretical Foundations for Centrality Measures” in the American Journal of Sociology (1991, Vol. 96, pp. 1478–1504) and “Social Networks in Structural Equation Models” in the Social Psychology Quarterly (1990, Vol. 53, pp. 316–328). Currently he is examining the accuracy and applications of a formal theory on how networks of interpersonal power and influence enter into the formation of opinions and agreements.

    Joseph Galaskiewicz is Professor of Sociology and Strategic Management and Organization at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Exchange Networks and Community Politics (Sage, 1979) and the Social Organization of an Urban Grants Economy (Academic Press, 1985). He is currently working on a monograph with Wolfgang Bielefeld on the growth and decline of nonprofit organizations in Minneapolis-St. Paul during the Reagan years. He is also continuing his work on corporate giving and network methodology.

    Jeffrey C. Johnson is Associate Scientist at the Institute for Coastal and Marine Resources and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Biostatistics, East Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and is currently working on a long-term research project on the group dynamics of the winter-over crews in the South Pole Station in Antarctica. Research interests include the application of quantitative and qualitative methods in ethnographic research, social networks, diffusion models of innovation, small group dynamics, and relationships between social structure and cognition. He has published extensively in anthropological, sociological, and marine journals and is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Quantitative Anthropology.

    David Knoke is Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. His main research interests are in organizations and in political sociology. His current projects include the human resources policies of U.S. organizations (with Arne L. Kalleberg, Peter V. Marsden, and Joe L. Spaeth) and a comparative study of labor policy networks in the United States, Germany, and Japan (with Franz Urban Pappi, Jeffrey Broadbent, and Yutaka Tsujinaka). His recent books include Political Networks (1990), Organizing for Collective Action (1990), and Statistics for Social Data Analysis, 3rd ed. (with George W. Bohrnstedt, 1994). In 1992–1993 he was Chair of the Organizations and Occupations Section of the American Sociological Association and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

    David Krackhardt is Associate Professor of Organizations and Public Policy at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1984, his research has focused on how the theoretical insights and methodological innovations of network analysis can enhance our understanding of how organizations function. His interests range from cognitive representations of networks to the global, structural aspects of social networks in organizations. His published works have appeared in a variety of journals in the fields of psychology, sociology, management, and statistical methodology. His current research agenda includes developing models of diffusion of controversial innovations, predicting organizational outcomes from global network structures, and understanding the roles of “Simmelian ties” in organizations.

    Peter V. Marsden is Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where he is currently serving as Chair. He is the Editor of Sociological Methodology, an annual methodology volume sponsored by the American Sociological Association. His academic interests lie in organizations, social networks, and methodology. He is currently studying the recruitment and selection practices of U.S. employers, as measured in a national employer-employee survey.

    Mark S. Mizruchi is Professor of Sociology and Business Administration at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the economic and political behavior of large American corporations. His books include The American Corporate Network, 1904–1974 (Sage, 1982), Intercorporate Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1987; coedited with Michael Schwartz), and The Structure of Corporate Political Action (Harvard University Press, 1992).

    Martina Morris is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Her research examines the effects of network structures on infectious disease transmission. She is currently investigating the role of sexual networks on the spread of AIDS in the United States, Thailand, and Uganda, using egocentric network data.

    Philippa Pattison is Associate Professor and Reader in the Department of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her major research interests include algebraic and statistical models for social networks, discrete models for binary data, and models for mathematical cognition. Her work on algebraic network models is described in her book Algebraic Models for Social Networks (Cambridge University Press, 1993).

    Ronald E. Rice received his Ph.D. in Communication Research from Stanford University and is currently Associate Professor, School of Communication, Information & Library Studies, Rutgers University. He has coauthored or coedited Public Communication Campaigns (first edition, 1981; second edition, 1989), The New Media: Communication, Research and Technology (1984), Managing Organizational Innovation (1987), and Research Methods and the New Media (1989). He has conducted research and published widely in communication science, public communication campaigns, computer-mediated communication systems, methodology, organizational and management theory, information systems, information science and bibliometrics, and social networks. He has been elected divisional officer in both the ICA and the Academy of Management.

    Donald Stone Sade received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966. Currently he is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University and President of the North Country Institute for Natural Philosophy in Mexico, New York. His research since 1960 has been on social networks of nonhuman primates, including rhesus monkeys at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, and emperor tamarins in cooperation with the Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens. More recently, he has also been researching the socioendocrinology of emperor tamarins, the Westernization of martial arts (JuJutsu) systems, and vocalizations of common crows.

    Michael E. Walker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University. He recently received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana. His dissertation was on the statistical analysis of social network data. Methodological interests include the assessment of similarity using the method of sorts as well as categorical data analysis. Other interests include ethnic group relations and social distance, and dispute resolution.

    Stanley Wasserman is Professor of Psychology, Statistics, and Sociology, and Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, at the University of Illinois. He is the coauthor (with Katherine Faust of the University of South Carolina) of Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (Cambridge University Press, 1994). His current research interests include categorical data analysis, social networks, and applied statistics (in general). He is Associate Editor of Journal of the American Statistical Association, The American Statistician, Psychometrika, and the Journal of Quantitative Anthropology and the Book Review Editor of CHANCE: New Direction in Statistics and Computing. He is also the Secretary/Treasurer of the Classification Society of North America.

    Barry Wellman is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto. He founded the International Network for Social Network Analysis in 1976 and headed it until 1988. Born in the 1Bronx, he soon realized that supportive communities thrive in cities—but as social networks. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969, he spent his academic career studying the nature of social support in personal community networks. He coedited Social Structures: A Network Approach (Cambridge University Press) and has recently written Men in Networks, an account of the move of community ties from male-dominated public spaces to female-dominated domestic spaces.

    Yoram Wind is the Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founding director of the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. He has written 10 books and about 200 papers, articles, and monographs encompassing marketing strategy, marketing research, new product and market development, international marketing, and consumer and industrial buying behavior.

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