Social Networks and Innovation Conference and Raju Chair Keynote Address Steve Borgatti
Steve Borgatti is the Paul Chellgren Endowed Chair of Management at the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, where he is a member of the LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis.
He received his BA in Anthropology in 1977 from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. in Mathematical Social Science in 1989 at UC-Irvine. Prior to working at Kentucky, Steve was Professor of Organization Studies at Boston College, and before that was Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. Steve is a past-president of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers, and was awarded both INSNA's Simmel and Richards awards. He is co-author, with Martin Everett and Lin Freeman, of the UCINET software package for social network analysis. His main research interest is social networking, though he also studies cultural domains and knowledge management.
On The Decline of Social Network Theorizing.
Interest in social networks continues to rise exponentially. Yet a close analysis of network research in the last 20 years suggests a dearth of new ideas. In fields like management, the field has coalesced around just a few standard concepts, such as structural holes. Fields like physics and biology are highly descriptive, often content with labeling networks small worlds or scale-free. Many of the constructs in use are based on the simple concept of transitivity, a highly local concept which largely ignores the fundamental insight behind networks, namely that connective paths enable global consequences such as fads, epidemics, power failures and global recessions. Even new paradigms in network analysis such as the focus on perceived ties threaten to regress the field to pre-network days when instead of asking respondents about their ties, we simply asked them how well-connected they felt. This paper discusses contraction of the field and what might be done about it.