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I'm stuck on the precise measures to use when identifying brokers in
resource exchange networks when adopting a structural holes approach.
Burt (2003) advises using a Constraint index when looking at brokers of
innovation and "good ideas" and this seems possible when essentially the
discussion centres around idea diffusion. However, I'm interested in
identifying brokers of essential resources within organisations (e.g.
advice, support, material) and in this scenario the constraint measure
on its own appears to be more of a dependence measure - which may be
useful to identify "peripheral" or highly dependant actors but own it's
own doesn't help to identify brokers highly regarded due to their
ability to span "structural holes".
The redundancy measure (or network efficiency) is particularly
attractive as few other measures (e.g. flow-betweenness, degree,
Bonacich's power) appear to acknowledge this point. However, it seems
limiting to use Efficiency on its own as the definition of a structural
hole incorporates (among others) both Constraint and Redundancy. I am
trying to identify a measure capable of being used for hypothesis
testing (e.g. actors change acceptance is dependant on the change
affecting their brokerage positions) so a single index would be useful
to say the least. So, two questions.
1. Is there a mechanism available that provides a single index
for the identification of those occupying brokerage roles by spanning
structural holes (i.e. a combination of constraint, redundancy,
hierarchy, density etc.)
2. Has anyone used single index indicators (e.g. Redundancy on
its own) to identify brokers in a resource exchange scenario and how
successful was it ?
Thanks all, hopefully I've clearly explained my thinking !
Glen D. Murphy
Work Effectiveness Research Program
School of Management
Faculty Of Business
Queensland University of Technology
Ph. 07 3314 8061
Mob. 0403 001 623
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