Structural Holes


Thank you Jeff Johnson of East Carolina University for suggesting Burt’s Structural Holes as relevant to my research.

“Much of competitive behavior and its results can be understood in terms of player access to “holes” in the social structure of the competitive arena. Players are connected to certain others, dependent on exchange with certain others, obligated to support certain others. Push here and someone over there moves. By dint of who is connected to whom, holes exist in the social structure of the competitive arena. The holes in social structure, or more simply, structural holes, are disconnections or non-equivalences between players in the arena. Structural holes are entrepreneurial opportunities for information, access, timing, referrals, and control.” (Burt 1992)

4 Signature Qualities of the Structural Hole Argument

    1. Competition is a matter of relations, not player attributes.
    2. Competition is a relation emergent, not observed.
    3. Competition is a process, not just a result.
    4. Imperfect competition is a matter of freedom, not just power.