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IMHO, density is too simple/general of a metric for this type of
study.  You can get very similar density scores from two very
different networks[in terms of structure].

What is important is the *pattern* of ties surrounding the
scientists.  If you read Burt carefully [you should get his latest
book -- "Brokerage and Closure"] you will see he focuses on the
pattern of links surrounding a node, not just simple density.

The word "optimal" implies that organizations can be made into "well-
oiled machines"...  which of course they can not.  Some managers now
think that "scale free" is optimal for their organizations... ;-)

Valdis


On Oct 17, 2005, at 11:24 AM, Jean Singer wrote:


> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> <>Dear Socnetters --
>
>
> I'm working on a dissertation study that examines the advice
> networks of
> scientists in R&D.  I've characterized the networks in terms of
> density
> and two primary measures of diversity: index of qualitative variation
> (similar to Blau's heterogeneity index) and the proportion of ties to
> organizational units outside a given focal unit (similar to
> Krackhardt's
> E/I Index).  I'm interested in the balance between density and network
> diversity because of literature that suggests a combination of
> these two
> may be optimal for performance (e.g., Burt 2001, Oh et al 2004).
> However, aside from Oh's paper, I haven't found studies that quantify
> the "optimal" levels of density or diversity. Particularly with
> respect
> to network diversity, I'm interested in understanding the point where
> you go from "enough" to "too much" (assuming there is one, as the
> simulation by Cowan and Jonard 2001 suggests...) Can anyone point me
> toward studies that quantify the "optimal" balance between density and
> diversity, or that indicate the point at which the benefits of network
> diversity may start to drop off?
>
> Many thanks --
> Jean
>
>
> Jean Singer
> Doctoral Candidate
> Fielding Graduate Institute
>
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