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we are two doctorate students at the Polytechnic University of Turin
(Italy), trying to settle an empirical research plan about "Industrial
Network as Social Network". It's the first time for us in this
Our principal aim is to build a socio-centric network of contacts (with
a given multiplicity higher than one) among entrepreneurs within a
single-industry locally-bounded area, usually named - in Italy at least
- Industrial District.
We would like to argue
(1) the relations, if they exists, among social network structure and
industry network characterisation (in term of industry - e.g. textiles
and mechanicals - and geographic place - i.e. north , center, south
(2) the relation among social network structure and social - economic
performance. For this aim, we need to engage an empirical survey in some
industrial districts and to build a model of such relations.
So here you are some of our hesitations:
Sampling of the finite population of enterprises to interview
Suppose we have identified the districts we would like to deeply
investigate by a set of interviews. Consider that the number of
enterprises in a typical network vary from 200 to 2000. So we must
economize. We found a little difficult to find in academic literature
publication dealing with the sampling issue in social network analysis,
and we guess the reason (the sampling loose a great part of relational
data). Nevertheless we must sample and, consulting some expert in
statistics, we conclude that a stratified casual sample is the most
suitable. Do you also feel that? Do you have any suggestion for it?
Probably you know some specific reference we could not find or some
other expert to contact ..
Who's the node?
Our purpose is to consider each node as an enterprise, but an enterprise
is composed by several people. So, which of them is the most appropriate
Type of questionnaire
We thought to ask open questions to sampled informants, that is not to
describe a limited number of contacts among a limited list of other
entrepreneurs. Do you think by your experience this purpose could be
right or dangerous for the socio-centric network building?
As regards the interview method, we thought to CAPI (Computer Aided
Personal Interview) technique: could you propose us a 'lighter' method?
Static or Dynamic modelling
We also would like to build a dynamical model of relations among
structural features of the social network + structural features of
industrial network and performance measurement. Do you think it will be
too heavy and not reliable to have past information of social relations?
Just another advice, calling upon your experience: do you know any other
research survey on social network analysis applied to industrial
Many many thanks for any answer or advice you could give to us.
Polytechnic of Turin
Dpt. of Production System and Business Economics
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24 - 10129 Torino, Italy
Tel: +39 011 564 72 95
Fax: +39 011 564 72 99
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