Social Network Theories

Changing Learning and Working

I have often been confronted by colleagues with the argument that social network analysis is only a method. Over time I became more annoyed with that point. Social network analysis goes beyond this. Yes, it is a method, but it is also a perspective, a framework, with which the world can be analyzed. To underline this point below are a couple of theories that can (or should) only be viewed from a relational perspective, hence social network perspective:

Social Exchange Theory

Initially, social exchange theory only dealt with the exchange of goods, services, or favors between two people. It can be summarize with „I scratch your bag, you scratch mine“. The flow of goods, services, or favors is normally reciprocal. Take any item you purchase: You get the good (e.g., freshly baked sour dough German bread with sunflower seeds) and the baker gets your money. But also when you grant…

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