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Industry Performance and Indirect Access to Structural Holes

Network Strategy

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1442-3, eISBN: 978-1-84950-531-4

Publication date: 25 July 2008


What is the scope of brokerage network to be considered in thinking strategically? Given the value of bridging structural holes, is there value to being affiliated with people or organizations that bridge structural holes? The answer is “no” according to performance associations with manager networks, which raises a question about the consistency of network theory across micro to macro levels of analysis. The purpose here is to align manager evidence with corresponding macro evidence on the supplier and customer networks around four-digit manufacturing industries in the 1987 and 1992 benchmark input–output tables. In contrast to the manager evidence, about 24% of the industry-structure effect on industry performance can be attributed to structure beyond the industry's own buying and selling, to networks around the industry's suppliers and customers. However, the industry evidence is not qualitatively distinct from the manager evidence so much as it describes a more extreme business environment.


Burt, R.S. (2008), "Industry Performance and Indirect Access to Structural Holes", Baum, J.A.C. and Rowley, T.J. (Ed.) Network Strategy (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 315-360.



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