Professor Ronald S. Burt examines the formal and informal dynamics of organizations’ social structures. He explains how people ("brokers") who belong to more than one group in an organization disseminate new information across group lines. Such brokers perform an invaluable social function by building "social capital" among groups. Burt contrasts this social function with its opposite: "closure," the bonds of internal trust in a contained group. getAbstract warns that this textbook will probably be most useful to readers who are already familiar with theories about social capital and its formation. Its insider language and academic approach may be difficult for uninitiated readers to penetrate. Burt uses sophisticated studies and complex graphs to demonstrate brokerage and closure; nonsociologists will find that his illustrative, but tangential, anecdotes and examples are more accessible than those references. Thus, his explanatory digressions will be the sections of greatest accessibility and interest to most readers.
In this summary, you will learn
- How the concept of "brokerage and closure" works;
- How brokers bridge the gaps between closed groups and share new ideas;
- How trust connects the groups in a network; and
- How the science of sociology views interactions among closed groups within connected networks.
About the Author
Ronald S. Burt is the Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.