Last I week I discussed my own Facebook network with you, but this week I will discuss the Facebooknetwork of Marieke, the entrepreneur I wrote about in the first week. Marieke has a company where you can order postcards online. They offer handmade postcards for diverse occasions, and there is a pack of tea added to the postcard to increase the experience of the receiver. Her company is now three years old and they are making a higher profit every year. We looked at her Facebook network, using the program Touchgraph and the three biggest groups were: her friends from her hometown, her friends from the university and her colleagues at her current job at the communication department of a big company.
Before I asked her about components of embeddedness and overembeddedness I explained the concepts of an embedded-tie and an arm’s-length tie. An embedded tie is a trustful and personal tie, and an arm’s length tie is someone who you don’t let come close (not further then your ‘arms-length’) and in which you speak with sharp and detached language (Uzzi, 1997). An overembedded structure has first- and second-order networks that comprise embedded ties. The first-order networks are the people you know, and the second-order networks are the people who know the people you know. In addition, an underembedded structure has first- and second-order networks that comprise only arm’s-length ties. Finally, an integrated structure is an integration of embedded and arm’s-length ties in the first- and second-order network (Uzzi, 1997).
We concluded that Marieke had an integrated network, because her networkstructure comprised both embedded and arm’s-length ties. The co-founder of her company is also her best friend, because she is very trustful and personal, which makes her an embedded-tie. An example of an arm’s-length tie is a father of a friend from her hometown who gave her legal advice. She only talks about business with him and not about personal things, which makes him an arm’s-length tie. Marieke experienced embeddedness as pariadoxical in low extent, she couldn’t name any situations where she experienced under- or overembeddednes..
Floris den Boer
Uzzi, B. (1997). Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(1), 35-67.