Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition

The theory of structural holes emerged from the work of Ronald Burt. A major breakthrough in social network analysis and social capital research, Burt’s 1992 book Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, along with his subsequent publications, has been one of the most influential works in structural sociology and strategic management, generating more than 80,000 Google citations. Structural hole is a metaphor for and the signature of a theory on the social structure of competition. The metaphor refers to the absence of a connection between nonredundant contacts in a sparse network. The theory of structural holes explains the network structure of and competitive advantages generated by structural holes. This entry describes Ronald Burt and the theory of structural holes, Burt’s initial research design to ...

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