Within the social sciences, a network is defined as a series of relations (or ties) between multiple actors (or nodes). Network theory is concerned with the implications of occupying a position within a network. Research has found that people’s positions in social networks—defined broadly as any network that involves people—can yield advantages in the kind of information people receive and how rapidly they receive it relative to their peers. Although interest in networks spans traditional disciplinary boundaries, network theory is important for the study of corporate reputation because reputations are generated, sustained, and conveyed within networks. This entry covers the development of network theory, various theories of networks and network theory, the key concepts within network theories, existing criticisms of network theory, and implications for ...

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