Actor Equivalence in Networks: The Business Ties That Bind
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, Vol. 2(1) 1995
29 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015 Last revised: 19 Feb 2016
Date Written: 1995
Patterns of relationships are of interest to researchers in marketing. In particular, the concept of "networks" of inter-relationships has found appeal among business marketers. While many network methods exist for analyzing the structure of network ties, most of the reported network research in business marketing has been qualitative or anecdotal in nature. In this paper, we present an analytical technique that will provide complementary perspectives to qualitative network descriptions, and yet is simple to learn and implement. The method explicitly examines the structure of relational linkages between firms (or between actors within a single firm), clustering actors in a network on the basis of their similarity (i.e., resemblance in profiles of relational ties to others). Furthermore, the analysis allows the simultaneous empirical derivation of both perspectives of a relational dyad (e.g., both the buyer and seller aspects of market structure are analyzed). The methodology is demonstrated on two diverse data sets: one describing buyer-seller transactions, and the other describing marketing ties among the major international automobile manufacturers.
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