On Social Network Analysis in a Supply Chain Context

23 Pages Posted: 6 May 2013

See all articles by Steve Borgatti

Steve Borgatti

University of Kentucky; LINKS Center

Xun Li

University of Kentucky

Date Written: May 5, 2009


The network perspective is rapidly becoming a lingua franca across virtually all of the sciences from anthropology to physics. In this paper, we provide supply chain researchers with an overview of social network analysis, covering both specific concepts (such as structural holes or betweenness centrality) and the generic explanatory mechanisms that network theorists often invoke to relate network variables to outcomes of interest. One reason for discussing mechanisms is to facilitate appropriate translation and context-specific modification of concepts rather than blind copying. We have also taken care to apply network concepts to both ‘‘hard’’ types of ties (e.g. materials and money flows) and ‘‘soft’’ types of ties (e.g., friendships and sharing-of-information), as both are crucial (and mutually embedded) in the supply chain context. Another aim of the review is to point to areas in other fields that we think are particularly suitable for supply chain management (SCM) to draw network concepts from, such as sociology, ecology, input–output research and even the study of romantic networks. We believe the portability of many network concepts provides a potential for unifying many fields, and a consequence of this for SCM may be to decrease the distance between SCM and other branches of management science.

Suggested Citation

Borgatti, Steve and Li, Xun, On Social Network Analysis in a Supply Chain Context (May 5, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2260994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2260994

Steve Borgatti (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky ( email )

550 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.analytictechcom/borgatti

LINKS Center ( email )

455P Gatton College of Business and Economics Bldg
Lexington, KY 40506-0034
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkscenter.org/

Xun Li

University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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