Ronald Burt describes the social structural theory of competition that has developed through the last two decades. The contrast between perfect competition and monopoly is replaced with a network model of competition. The basic element in this account is the structural hole: a gap between two individuals with complementary resources or information. When the two are connected through a third individual as entrepreneur, the gap is filled, creating important advantages for the entrepreneur. Competitive advantage is a matter of access to structural holes in relation to market transactions.
A major contribution to structural sociology that will stimulate the imaginations of scholars in disciplines as diverse as sociology, economics, strategy, and marketing.
Structural Holes proves that basic and applied research, micro and macro levels of analysis, and parsimonious and opulent theorizing are not mutual exclusions.
In this well-crafted and rich volume, Ronald Burt provides an integration of his previous network studies that makes a substantial contribution to research on the social structure of economic phenomena… The book succeeds on several levels.
The theoretical ideas in [Structural Holes] are bold, creative, and parsimonious…there is superb handling of data. Both in his theorizing and in his methodology, in all brevity, Burt displays that rare quality which C. Wright Mills termed ‘the sociological imagination.’
Structural Holes makes an important contribution to clarifying the connection between macrosociological and microsociological levels of analysis… By combining sociological theory and outstanding empirical research from different interaction contexts, Burt creates a model for sociological work in general.
Structural Holes is an important book that works on many levels. It is a major contribution to economic and organizational sociology that will stimulate the imaginations of students of families, international politics, and individual personality as well; a work of extraordinary sophistication that is engaging enough to assign to master students; and a development of rational models of action that combines the elegance of game theory with the realism of network analysis.
Burt’s Structural Holes is a milestone in the continuing development of structural sociology. It combines sophisticated theory, advanced quantitative methods, and application to problems of competitive analysis that demonstrate the value of a sociological perspective.
A sociological masterwork of structural analysis distinguished in every aspect: theoretical, methodological, empirical. Bound to be a standard-setting book for years to come.
Structural Holes is to management what the X-ray was to medicine. Ron Burt has made visible what before could only be inferred: the hidden structure of the ‘informal organization.’ Those who gain the ‘sight’ this book offers will have acquired an unprecedented power to lead.
- 324 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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