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You may want to check out the work Ray Reagans and Ezra Zuckerman's work in
this area - what you are looking at seems very similar to questions they
have looked at with R & D teams.

Best,
Branda

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On
Behalf Of Jean Singer
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 11:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Balancing network density and diversity


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<>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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