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The Role, Use and Activation of Strong and Weak Network Ties: A Qualitative Analysis

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  • Sarah L. Jack
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    Abstract

    A characteristic of studies seeking to explain the structure and operation of networks is the use of Granovetter's strong and weak tie hypothesis. Whilst this hypothesis has become an established paradigm, questions and disagreements arise over its applicability at demonstrating the real use and value of each tie. This study extends the work of Granovetter. Using a qualitative ethnographic approach to explore in-depth the networking activities of fourteen respondents, it aims to enhance understanding about the role of ties, how they are used and activated for business activity. Findings demonstrate that it is strong ties that are instrumental for business activity and used extensively to provide knowledge and information but also to maintain, extend and enhance business and personal reputations. Unless activities require their reactivation and manifestation, strong ties remain latent and dormant within the network. Strong ties also provide the mechanism to invoke 'weak' ties, represented by nodes operating in a wider social context. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 6 (09)
    Pages: 1233-1259

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:42:y:2005:i:6:p:1233-1259

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    Cited by:
    1. Roberta Comunian, 2011. "Networks of knowledge and support. Mapping relations between public, private and not for profit sector in the creative economy," ERSA conference papers ersa10p275, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Darja Reuschke, 2011. "Self-Employment and Geographical Mobility in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 417, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Newbert, Scott L. & Tornikoski, Erno T. & Quigley, Narda R., 2013. "Exploring the evolution of supporter networks in the creation of new organizations," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 281-298.
    4. Barthelemy Chollet & Mickaël Géraudel & Caroline Mothe, 2013. "Generating Business Referrals for SMEs: The Contingent Value of CEOs' Social Capital," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00915173, HAL.
    5. Jack, Sarah L., 2010. "Approaches to studying networks: Implications and outcomes," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 120-137, January.
    6. Kontinen, Tanja & Ojala, Arto, 2011. "Network ties in the international opportunity recognition of family SMEs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 440-453, August.
    7. Sigfusson, Thor & Chetty, Sylvie, 2013. "Building international entrepreneurial virtual networks in cyberspace," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 260-270.
    8. Houghton, Susan M. & Smith, Anne D. & Hood, Jacqueline N., 2009. "The influence of social capital on strategic choice: An examination of the effects of external and internal network relationships on strategic complexity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(12), pages 1255-1261, December.
    9. Stam, Wouter & Arzlanian, Souren & Elfring, Tom, 2014. "Social capital of entrepreneurs and small firm performance: A meta-analysis of contextual and methodological moderators," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 152-173.
    10. Capelleras, Joan-Lluis & Mole, Kevin F., 2012. "How ‘buzz’ reduces uncertainty for new firm founders," MPRA Paper 38170, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Smith, Delmonize A. & Lohrke, Franz T., 2008. "Entrepreneurial network development: Trusting in the process," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 315-322, April.
    12. Discua Cruz, Allan & Hamilton, Eleanor & Jack, Sarah L., 2012. "Understanding entrepreneurial cultures in family businesses: A study of family entrepreneurial teams in Honduras," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 147-161.
    13. Karen Wang & Yue Wang & Kai-Ping Huang & Jingsong Deng, 2012. "Heterogeneous networks and resource acquisition of SMEs in emerging economies," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 46(5), pages 1643-1657, August.
    14. Huber, Franz, 2013. "Knowledge-sourcing of R&D workers in different job positions: Contextualising external personal knowledge networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 167-179.

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