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Analyzing the Instrumental Use of Relations in the Context of Social Structure


  • Nan Lin

    (State University of New York, Albany)

  • Paul W. Dayton

    (New York State Department of Health)

  • Peter Greenwald

    (New York State Department of Health)


Employing a variation of the Small World technique for tracing social relations in the context of a larger social structure, the instrumental uses of social relations are examined in terms of the prestige and types of relations characteristic of participants m the search process. The results show that successful chains tend to involve participants of higher occupational prestige as the chains progress before "dipping" down toward the target prestige level at the last link. Also, the successful chains tend to utilize weak and infrequent social relations rather than strong and frequent social relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Nan Lin & Paul W. Dayton & Peter Greenwald, 1978. "Analyzing the Instrumental Use of Relations in the Context of Social Structure," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 7(2), pages 149-166, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:somere:v:7:y:1978:i:2:p:149-166

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    1. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9544-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:infosf:v:14:y:2012:i:2:d:10.1007_s10796-010-9250-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dean A. Shepherd & Trenton A. Williams, 2014. "Local Venturing as Compassion Organizing in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster: The Role of Localness and Community in Reducing Suffering," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 952-994, September.
    4. Michael J. Stern & Andrew S. Fullerton, 2009. "The Network Structure of Local and Extra-Local Voluntary Participation: The Role of Core Social Networks," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(3), pages 553-575.

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