Structural Holes and Networks
The theory of structural holes and networks suggests that intentionally leaving gaps between members of a network provides certain key advantages. Tightly interconnected networks are full of redundant information – you don’t necessarily need to actively work with everything in a coalition to fully leverage its collaborative advantage. It takes time and resources to maintain each tie in a network in the form of meetings, staff time and energy. Networks can access a greater diversity of ideas and information by leaving holes in their network, so they can connect to more groups outside of the core network membership.
The first step to build more structural holes into your network is to visualize the structure of your network. PARTNER is a valuable network mapping tool for building more strategic connections when it comes to structural holes and networks. Read the paper by Ronald Burt below that introduced this important topic for non-commercial purposes to better understand structural holes and networks.