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Inequalities in network structures

By Joseph M. Whitmeyer and Rafael Wittek


ICS University of Groningen. We use a model of continuous attachments in networks to generate propositions concerning inequalities in network structures, and test the propositions on data from organizational settings. Our network model, inspired by that of [Gould, Roger 2002. The origins of status hierarchies: A formal theory and empirical test. American Journal of Sociology 107, 1143–1178], is based on a theoretically informed actor model, in which each network member sets attachment strengths based on perceived partner quality, reciprocity, influence from others, attribute homophily, and attachment resistance. A computer algorithm finds the single robust equilibrium configuration of attachment strengths. This allows us to generate six propositions concerning inequalities at the individual, dyadic, triadic, and network levels. We test the propositions on network data for four kinds of attachments over four waves for five organizations, and find that the results generally support the propositions. The results suggest that partner quality, reciprocity, and attachment resistance are the most important elements in the network members’ choices.

Year: 2010
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