Structural Holes

Structural holes have been examined in a variety of contexts, most notably organizational and health ones, by scholars representing a number of disciplines. The original conception was developed by sociologist Ronald Burt. In his 1992 book Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, he describes how individuals who developed relationships that brokered gaps in social structures were more likely to be promoted faster at an earlier age. He argued that much of market-oriented competitive behavior could be explained by access of individuals to “holes” in social structure. In subsequent research, he found that such managers were more likely to be exposed to new ideas.

Structural holes reflect a paradox, the natural tendency of human systems to differentiate, to specialize effort, while at the same time ...

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