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Related to this point, please read the Thomas Friedman editorial in
Today's New York Times regarding the terrorist attack in London.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/08/opinion/08friedman.html?th&emc=th

On Jul 8, 2005, at 12:25 AM, Ajay Mehra wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> By way of amplifying Zuckerman's cautionary comments:
>
>
>
> 1) There is a voluminous literature on group cohesion and
> performance, which
> has long acknowledged that the relationship between the two depends
> upon the
> content of group norms. (Of course, structural density and
> psychological
> measures of cohesion are not identical, but it seems likely that
> they will
> tend to be correlated.)
>
>
>
> 2) It also seems likely that structural density and performance co-
> evolve
> over time, rather than one driving the other in a purely one-way
> direction--
>
>
>
> but see the forthcoming meta-analytic piece by Balkundi and Harrison:
>
>
>
> Balkundi, P. & Harrison, D. A. (2005, forthcoming). Ties, leaders,
> and time
> in teams: Strong inference about network structure's effects on team
> viability and performance. Academy of Management Journal.
>
>
>
>
>
> Ajay Mehra
>
> U. of Cincinnati
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> .
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Ezra Zuckerman
> Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 10:33 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Density...optimal and otherwise...
>
>
>
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
>
>
> Another word of caution:  Density has very different implications
> (as does
>
> performance) depending on whose perspective you take.
>
>
>
> Consider Coleman's (AJS, 1988) classic notion of "intergenerational
> closure"--
>
> i.e., the extent to which parents in a community have ties amongst
> themselves
>
> and thus have the necessary "social capital" to keep their kids in
> line.
> This
>
> story makes it sound like density is great for "performance" (i.e.,
> achieving
>
> desired ends) and it has often been (mis)interpreted as
> antithetical to the
>
> idea that social capital is about low density among one's contacts (or
>
> "structural holes").  But now consider the situation from the
> perspective of
>
> the kids.  Assuming that the kids do not want to listen to the
> adults (which
> is
>
> presumably Coleman's assumption since otherwise the adults wouldn't
> have to
>
> worry about keeping them in line), density among the adults is
> *bad*, not
> good,
>
> for their "performance" (and density among the kids is good for the
> kids but
>
> bad for the adults performance, as any parent who has ever
> separated his
> kids
>
> at the dinner table knows).
>
>
>
> Of course, this example assumes a zero-sum game and life is more
> interesting
>
> that that.  The more general point is that whether ties between a
> pair of
>
> actors improves your performance depends on whether those actors
> have the
> same
>
> interests as you (tends to be good, though it's more complicated
> than that)
> or
>
> not (tends to be bad, though it's more complicated than that).
>
>
>
> A very good exposition of these points is in Burt's Toward a
> Structural
> Theory
>
> of Action (Academic Press, 1982).  My recent papers with Ray
> Reagans and
> Bill
>
> McEvily (Org Science, 2001 & ASQ 2004) also use them to try to
> clarify some
>
> confusion in the demographic diversity literature.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
>
>
> Ezra Zuckerman
>
>
>
> Quoting "Johnson, Jeffrey C" <[log in to unmask]>:
>
>
>
>
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> One needs to be theoretically cautious in using density as a measure.
>>
> Just
>
>
>> like the mean of a population, density only tells you a portion of
>> the
>>
> story.
>
>
>>  Two networks can have identical densities but have very different
>>
> structures
>
>
>> given the distribution of links.  In a sense, this is like the
>>
> relationship
>
>
>> between the mean and the standard deviation. This is particularly
>> crucial
>>
> if
>
>
>> one is interested in linking structure to outcomes (e.g.,
>> performance).  A
>>
>
>
>> discussion of this can be found in the following:
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> J.C. Johnson, J.S. Boster, and L. Palinkas.  Social Roles and the
>>
> Evolution
>
>
>> of Networks in Isolated and Extreme Environments.  Journal of
>> Mathematical
>>
>
>
>> Socilogy.  Vol. 27/number 2-3 (2003): 89-122.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Jeff Johnson
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> ________________________________
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of David Lazer
>>
>
>
>> Sent: Thu 7/7/2005 5:56 PM
>>
>
>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>
>
>
>> Subject: Re: Density...optimal and otherwise...
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> One more addition to this thread-- Allan Friedman and I have been
>> doing
>>
>
>
>> work using agent-based models that suggests, consistent with
>> Labianca,
>>
>
>
>> Uzzi, and others (notably, work by Kratzer, Leenders, and van
>> Engelen on
>>
>
>
>> creative teams), that increased density in collaborative networks can
>>
>
>
>> result in inferior outcomes.  Our analysis suggests that, however,
>> that
>>
>
>
>> what really matters is not so much density as how rapidly the
>> structure
>>
>
>
>> disseminates information (obviously, there is a relationship
>> between the
>>
>
>
>> two, but one can have sparse networks that are very effective at
>>
>
>
>> disseminating information, as well as fairly dense networks that have
>>
>
>
>> multiple components and thus do not spread info effectively).  We
>> also
>>
>
>
>> found that networks that disseminate information quickly do best
>> given
>>
>
>
>> short time horizons.  We also found a curvilinear relationship
>> between
>>
> long
>
>
>> run performance and density in random nets.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> We will have a revised version of our paper ready shortly (we are
>>
>
>
>> presenting it at ASA)-- will post at www.ksg.harvard.edu/netgov.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> In addition, related to this thread conceptually, Maria Binz-
>> Scharf has
>>
>
>
>> done some work on project teams and the density of their informal
>>
>
>
>> connections, arguing that dense connections are good for
>> exploitation, and
>>
>
>
>> sparse networks for explorations, suggesting a task and/or temporal
>>
>
>
>> contingency with respect to the impact of network density on
>> performance.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> chrs,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> David
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> __________________________________________
>>
>
>
>> __________________________________________
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> David Lazer
>>
>
>
>> Associate Professor of Public Policy
>>
>
>
>> Director
>>
>
>
>> Program on Networked Governance
>>
>
>
>> Kennedy School of Government
>>
>
>
>> Harvard University
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>              [log in to unmask]
>>
>
>
>>              A
>>
>
>
>>              Sent
>> by:                                                   To
>>
>
>
>>              [log in to unmask]         [log in to unmask]
>>
>
>
>>
>> EDU                                                        cc
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>> Subject
>>
>
>
>>              07/07/2005 03:58          [SOCNET] Density...optimal and
>>
>
>
>>              PM                        otherwise...
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>              Please respond to
>>
>
>
>>              [log in to unmask]
>>
>
>
>>                      A
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Soc-netters:  Here is a compendium of responses to my e-question(s)
>>
> earlier
>
>
>> today.  Thanks for your input!
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> cdr
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> QUESTION: Can anyone point to specific theories or studies wherein
>>
>
>
>> increased density is assumed to lead to increased output or improved
>>
>
>
>> performance? I assume
>>
>
>
>> that if one is studying communication networks that this
>> assumption might
>>
>
>
>> hold.  In other cases, maybe not (I am thinking of the value of 'weak
>>
> ties'
>
>
>> and
>>
>
>
>> 'structural holes').
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Alternatively, has there been work done (comparatively speaking) to
>>
> uncover
>
>
>> 'optimal' densities as it relates to networks?
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Any help that you can offer in this would be great!
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> IBM Global Services and I did some research on adaptive
>>
>
>
>> organizations... we found some high correlations [> 0.55] between
>> some
>>
>
>
>> network metrics and high scores in 'managing change'/adaptability --
>>
>
>
>> those orgs who managed change well had different network patterns
>> than
>>
>
>
>> those that did not.  Density was NOT one of the key metrics...
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Valdis
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>> Cami:
>>
>
>
>> We presented a paper on this topic in the area of community
>> coalitions
>>
>
>
>> expecting increased density to lead to increased uptake of prevention
>>
>
>
>> programs and policies.  We found this not to be true, however, and
>> found
>>
>
>
>> that increased density was associated with less adoption. It
>> surprised
>>
>
>
>> us, but was consistent with 2 other presentations at the conference.
>>
>
>
>> The paper reporting our results is currently under review, but I can
>>
>
>
>> send you a copy if you'd like.
>>
>
>
>> - Tom Valente
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>> Cami,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> There's an article by Podolny and Baron in the ASR, 1997, that shows
>>
>
>
>> that certain kinds of egocentric networks are conducive to upward
>>
>
>
>> mobility in a firm.  My recent stuff on bankers (ASR, 2001) has shown
>>
>
>
>> that sparse networks facilitate successful deals, but I have an
>>
>
>
>> in-progress paper that shows that high density approval networks
>> among
>>
>
>
>> the same bankers are associated with higher year-end bonuses.  I
>> should
>>
>
>
>> have a version of that paper posted on my website within the next
>> month
>>
>
>
>> or so, but if you send me a reminder in early August I'll send you a
>>
>
>
>> copy, since it should be revised by then.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Mark S. Mizruchi
>>
>
>
>> Professor of Sociology and Business Administration  / University of
>>
>
>
>> Michigan
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Cami,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> there is a paper [1] I published at the 2004 P2P Knowledge Management
>>
>
>
>> Workshop which makes some observations about query routing
>> performance
>>
> when
>
>
>> a self-organized P2P network assumes states with different clustering
>>
>
>
>> coefficients (with a fixed maximum outdegree -- i.e. routing table
>> size --
>>
>
>
>> per participant).
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> The bottom line is that you can "over-cluster", leading to what
>> Duncan
>>
>
>
>> Watts (I think it was him) has dubbed "caveman worlds" -- dense
>> clusters
>>
>
>
>> which are poorly connected to each other, making it difficult to get
>>
>
>
>> messages across at all.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Best regards,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Christoph
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> [1] Christoph Schmitz. Self-organization of a small world by
>> topic. In
>>
>
>
>> Proc. 1st International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Knowledge
>> Management.
>>
>
>
>> Boston, MA, August 2004.
>>
>
>
>> <http://www.kde.cs.uni-kassel.de/schmitz/publ/p2pkm.pdf>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> --
>>
>
>
>> -- Christoph Schmitz <[log in to unmask]>
>>
>
>
>> -- FG Wissensverarbeitung, FB 17, Universitšt Kassel
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Cami,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> This paper by Oh might be helpful regarding your question on
>> "optimal"
>>
>
>
>> networks.  He points to a middle ground rather than
>>
>
>
>> maximized density as best for performance.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Oh, H., Chung, M.-H., & Labiance, G. (2004). Group social capital and
>>
> group
>
>
>> effectiveness: The role of informal socializing
>>
>
>
>>       ties. Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 860-875.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> There's also Coleman's work on network closure:
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human
>> capital.
>>
>
>
>> American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95-S120.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Jean
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Hi Cami,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> I have an empirical piece where we demonstrate an inverted U
>> effect of
>>
>
>
>> density on performance:
>>
>
>
>> Oh, H., Chung, M-H., & Labianca, G.  (2004) "Group Social Capital and
>>
>
>
>> Group Effectiveness:  The Role of Informal Socializing Ties."
>> Academy of
>>
>
>
>> Management Journal, 47: 860-875.
>>
>
>
>> and a theoretical piece:
>>
>
>
>> Oh, H., Labianca, G., & Chung, M-H.  (forthcoming).  "A Multilevel
>> Model
>>
>
>
>> of Group Social Capital."  Academy of Management Review.
>> (Available on my
>>
>
>
>> website -- see signature below for URL).
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> I would also refer you to Ray Reagans' work in this area:
>>
>
>
>> Reagans R., & Zuckerman, E. W. 2001. Networks, diversity, and
>>
>
>
>> productivity: The social capital of corporate R&D teams. Organization
>>
>
>
>> Science, 12: 502-517.
>>
>
>
>> Reagans, R., & McEvily, B.  2003.  Network structure and knowledge
>>
>
>
>> transfer: The effects of cohesion and range. Administrative Science
>>
>
>
>> Quarterly, 48: 240-267.
>>
>
>
>> Good luck with your project,
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Joe
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> *********************************************************************
>> **
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Hi,
>>
>
>
>> There is also:
>>
>
>
>> OBSTFELD D. (2005), Social networks, the Tertius Iungens
>> orientation, and
>>
>
>
>> inovolvement in
>>
>
>
>> innovation, Administrative Science Quarterly, 50,, p. 100-130.
>>
>
>
>> ... if I am correct
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> He shows that density positively impacts individual innovation
>> involvement
>>
>
>
>> (arguing about
>>
>
>
>> Tertius Iungens as an alternative to the Tertius Gaudens strategy)
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> For work on the negative effects of a too-dense network on
>> organizational
>>
>
>
>> performance, see:
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Uzzi, B. 1997. Social structure and competition in interfirm
>> networks: The
>>
>
>
>> paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly v42,
>> p35-67.
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> Kari
>>
>
>
>>
>>
>
>
>> _____________________________________________________________________
>>
>
>
>> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>>
>
>
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>> _____________________________________________________________________
>>
>
>
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>>
>
>
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>> _____________________________________________________________________
>>
>
>
>> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>>
>
>
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> _____________________________________________________________________
>
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
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