Alters are most aptly defined as the social actors, part of one’s socially constructed network, without which one’s membership in, and connection to, the broader societies in which one finds himself or herself embedded would be affected. The formal study of alters within social networks, via social network analysis, first appeared within the scholarly literature (beginning in the field of sociology) in the 1930s and has since become a salient area of empirical interest within the fields of communication, psychology, anthropology, and business administration. Much research has been devoted, for example, to better understanding how certain alters provide ego (oneself) with increased opportunities for dependent variables such as information, decision-making influence, and access to job opportunities. That is, as a result of producing social network ...

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