Due to the responsibility to trust and to be trust in the embedded ties, too much of this tie might become a burden of either a firm or a person. In Japan, where many of their largest corporations formed multi-organizational groups and networks (also known as keiretsu in Japanese), the responsibility and commitment to partners are highly emphasized (Carruthers & Babb 2000). If a company did not carry out a contract or a verbal commitment (whether implicit or explicit), this company would become notorious quickly among people and organization within the network.This betrayal might just be a mistake whereas reputation within network plays a crucial role. Benefits from Weak Ties Sociologists tended to focus on the strong social networks between individuals and organizations and how these individuals and organizations could be benefited from their relationships with one another.
From 1950s, some sociologist like Granovetter (1973) started to define the notion of weak ties and to look at how weak ties could also benefit individuals and organizations. In his work, Granovetter explained a triad relationship. That is, if A and B have a strong ties and there is a C who A also have strong ties with.Figure 1. Forbidden Triad (Granovetter 1973: 1363) He explained that under this circumstance, it would be almost impossible or very rare in reality that the A-B strong ties formed a “bridge” because, “A strong tie can be a bridge, therefore, only if neither part to it has any other strong ties, unlikely in a social network of any size (though possible in a small group)” (Granovetter 1973: 1364). And then Granovetter immediately stated that, “Weak ties suffer no such restriction, though they are certainly not automatically bridges. What is important, rather, is that all bridges are weak ties” (Granovetter 1973: 1364).Although it is difficult to have a bridge in the reality, but local bridge is definitely possible.
This is also where the significance of weak ties lies. The local bridge provided the more in quantity and the shortest in efficiency of paths of ties. In this kind of network as a whole, there is a diffusion of ties. One of the advantages that Granovetter promoted was, some deviants in the society, who neither conform to the social norm (either completely or partly) nor having strong ties, still can pass their innovating idea to the others successfully.It is because, certainly these so-called deviants, for example, charismatic leaders, must have some local bridge among all their weak ties (Granovetter 1973). The main discovery he implied here is that, “weak ties, often denounced as generative of alienation (Wirth 1938) are here seen as indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and to their integration into communities; strong ties, breeding local cohesion, lead to overall fragmentation” (Granovetter 1973: 1378). Position in social networkAs we knew from Granovetter, we could assume that the position that one owned in his/her network is very important as well as the strength of ties.
The idea of structural hole further implied this assumption. Structural hole, termed by Burt, means “the separation between nonredundant contacts” (Burt 1992: 18). While the idea of weak ties talked about the strength and location of relationships, the notion of structure holes stated that information benefits could be generated over a bridge no matter the strength of relationships and this is applied to both individuals and organizations.In his studies, Burt found out that the number of structural holes, entrepreneurial opportunity, and information and control benefits are all direct-related in a player’s network. Also, to achieve the higher the rate of return, the more primary structural holes between the contact and others in the player’s network is required; and, the more secondary structural holes between the contact and others outside the network who could replace the contact, is needed as well (Burt 1992).Social network in whatever way must lead to success in certain level.
All the arguments stated above proved that different types of social networking have overall coherent benefits. The notion of weak ties showed that a personal, close relationship is not the most important factor. A weak ties consisted of structural holes and also located on the local bridge seems to be the best tie one could have and thus getting higher rate of opportunities in the economy market.This essay is the analysis of other sociologists’ studies, in which the main foci of social networks are the strength and position of one in his/her network. Yet more research could be done to find out how specialization of ties could affect one’s success in his/her investment. Also, could the “negative” ties be positive in certain occasions? These two aspects are also what interested the researchers and should be further explored in future sociological studies.Bibliography1. Burt, R.
1992. Structured Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp 8-492. Carruthers, B. G.
& Babb, S. L..
2000. Economy/Society: Markets, Meanings, and Social Structure. Thousand Oak, California: Pine Forge Press. Pp 45-693. Granovetter, M. 1973.
“The Strength of Weak Ties”. American Journal of Sociology 78, #6: 1360-80.