Social Network Analysis: Foundations and Frontiers on Advantage

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Abstract

We provide an overview of social network analysis focusing on network advantage as a lens that touches on much of the area. For reasons of good data and abundant research, we draw heavily on studies of people in organizations. Advantage is traced to network structure as a proxy for the distribution of variably sticky information in a population. The network around a person indicates the person's access and control in the distribution. Advantage is a function of information breadth, timing, and arbitrage. Advantage is manifest in higher odds of proposing good ideas, more positive evaluations and recognition, higher compensation, and faster promotions. We discuss frontiers of advantage contingent on personality, cognition, embeddedness, and dynamics.

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