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Abstract

The study of networks has been characterized by a dualism of methods. Researchers either use interpretive methods to explore the quality of social relations, or quantitative methods to assess the formal structure of network connectivity. However, because relational and structural characteristics of networks are interdependent, we present a method for Situational Organizational Network Analysis to overcome this dualism. In sequencing and integrating qualitative, quantitative and action research techniques, SONA is designed to help unveil authentic understand-ings of socially meaningful structure in compliance with research ethics. Drawing on a decade of research experience we describe the workings of this integrative method and elaborate on its valued-added compared to single methods. Building on selected applications, we demonstrate how the tailored use of SONA enhances cross-validation , supports original theory-building, and empowers reflexive transformative research.

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... While VNA is a recent term, there are numerous related approaches that seek to combine the strengths of structuralist and relationist network traditions. Quali-quantitative approaches such as network ethnography (Berthod et al. 2017), qualitative structural analysis (Herz et al. 2014) and situational organizational network analysis (Glückler et al. 2020) triangulate between narratives, visual, and quantitative relational information (see Jaspersen and Stein 2019). ...
... In the same way that environmental science alters the landscapes we study (Law 2018), the effects of creating and analyzing networks can have real-world impacts on the people and institutions they represent. For example, the conceptualization of structural holes led to a change in the way businesses manage their personnel (Glückler et al. 2020), and scientometric techniques are regularly misused by neoliberal university administrations and publishers in the political economy of academic rankings and impact evaluation (Gingras 2016;Stengers and Muecke 2018). In acknowledging this reality, CPG scholars should pay particularly close attention to the "small-p" politics involved in the conceptualization of our own and others' networks, as what is defined as a node and a tie can have major implications for the resulting network patterns (Gibadullina et al. 2021). ...
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... Vorab kann bereits festgehalten werden, dass ein besonderer Vorteil von SONA darin besteht, das Forschungsdesign flexibel an die jeweiligen Durchführungsbedingungen anpassen zu können (vgl. Glückler et al. 2020). Die Grundlage von SONA bildet eine relationale Methodologie "that aims not only (i) to capture the structure of connectivity, but also (ii) to grasp the contextuality of the networks as well as the meanings embedded in network interactions, and (iii) to engage with the field and its actors to support reflexive transformation" (Glückler et al. 2020, S. 122 [e]specially in small-scale applications, even a few in-depth interviews will prove valuable for capturing the context and diversity of meanings" (Glückler et al. 2020, S. 130). ...
... In einem fünften Schritt werden die Ergebnisse der einzelnen Analyseschritte mit den Netzwerkmitgliedern diskutiert, woran sich follow-up Interviews mit ausgewählten Netzwerkakteuren anschließen können. Der sechste und letzte Analyseschritt besteht in der Beratung bei der Implementierung von Änderungen (vgl.Glückler et al. 2020, S. 123-125).Allerdings bemerkenGlückler et al. (2020) selbst, dass die Implementierung der SONA Methode "comes with considerable costs in time and effort"(Glückler et al. 2020, S. 130). Die erhöhten Kosten der Analyse werden jedoch dadurch aufgewogen "that it [i.e. ...
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Der Beitrag stellt die konzeptionelle Ausarbeitung eines sich in Planung befindenden Forschungsprojekts am Seminar für Genossenschaftswesen der Universität zu Köln dar. Im Rahmen dieses Projektes soll untersucht werden, welche Bedarfe in ländlichen Regionen bestehen und in welcher Hinsicht und in welchem Maße Genossenschaftsbanken als Netzwerkakteure im Rahmen endogener Entwicklungsstrategien zu Problemlösungen in unterschiedichen Bereichen der Regionalentwicklung beitragen.
... Despite its potential, the use of mixedmethods has been an exception rather than a rule in network research within human geography over the last decades. Combining qualitative and quantitative network analysis in mixed-method designs is still an emerging field (Crossley, 2010;Crossley and Edwards, 2016;Domínguez and Hollstein, 2014;Edwards, 2010;Glückler et al., 2020;González Canché, 2019;Nooraie et al., 2018). Recent approaches range from network ethnographies (Berthod et al., 2017), cultural network approaches (Edelmann, 2018), and the use of participant observation in formal network analysis (Conti and Doreian, 2010) to the 'quantitization' of qualitative content (Williams and Shepherd, 2017). ...
... Second, in a bifocal approach (Coviello, 2005), scholars rely on qualitative methods during data collection to capture the differential meanings of social relations, whereas they mix quantitative and qualitative methods only at the stage of data analysis. Third, qualitative and quantitative methods are used at both the stage of data collection and the stage of analysis to attain the full benefits from triangulation, a strategy adopted, for instance, in the 'Situative Organizational Network Analysis' approach (Glückler et al., 2020). Whereas this typology refers to different types of sequencing and mixing of qualitative and quantitative methods, we would like to highlight three strategies for trading-off the tension between structure and meaning and for ensuring internal validity and potential transferability of research findings on meaningful social structure. ...
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... In concluding this, however, we should not sacrifice the value of a detailed micro-relational analysis of the social process and the structural dynamics that these practices create. At their best, researchers conducting studies on civic organization and their practices should consider mixed-method designs that combine the best of both worlds (Small, 2011;Glückler, Panitz, & Hammer, 2020). In any case, it is worthwhile and necessary to explore the empirical nature and dynamics of social practices in civic organizations more deeply, rather than limiting the debate to normative accounts of their potential virtues and liabilities. ...
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... Given the qualitative nature of the study, the early preliminary results improved the later research. For example, the preliminary results were discussed in online-meetings and workshops (see Glückler and Panitz, 2020). The research was complemented by comprehensive internet and media research. ...
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... We adopted a qualitative case study approach [84,85] as well as elements of the relational method of "situational organizational network analysis" (SONA) [86]. We collected data during two stages of fieldwork in 2018 and 2019, covering five political-administrative regions of Chile. ...
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This chapter discusses the nature of relational research designs that aim to overcome separations between different disciplinary perspectives within economic geography and create linkages to other academic fields. The relational approach is a comprehensive research perspective grounded in three principles of relationality of economic action: contextuality, path dependence, and contingency. Using the cases of manufacturing versus professional services clusters, it is shown that the relational approach does not proclaim a meta-theory of economic organization in space but provides a framework for contextual theorization, adjusted to the specific sectoral and technological contexts under investigation. Relational research designs across academic fields agree (i) that social relations between people and organizations are key to understanding the contemporary economy, (ii) that economic processes rest on the spatial and temporal interplay between regional and global networks, and (iii) that innovation and learning depend on simultaneous inter-firm, intra-organizational and community-based interactions and relations.
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- This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.
Book
How are firms, networks of firms, and production systems organized and how does this organization vary from place to place? What are the new geographies emerging from the need to create, access, and share knowledge, and sustain competitiveness? In what ways are local clusters and global exchange relations intertwined and co-constituted? What are the impacts of global changes in technology, demand, and competition on the organization of production, and how do these effects vary between communities, regions, and nations? This book synthesizes theories from across the social sciences with empirical research and case studies in order to answer these questions and to demonstrate how people and firms organize economic action and interaction across local, national, and global flows of knowledge and innovation. It is structured in four clear parts. The first part looks at foundations of relational thinking. The next part is about relational clusters of knowledge. The third part looks at knowledge circulation across territories. The final part considers whether there is a relational economic policy. The book employs a relational framework, which recognizes values, interpretative frameworks, and decision-making practices as subject to the contextuality of the social institutions that characterize the relationships between the human agents.
Article
This article takes a geographical interest in the upgrading of countries by adopting a micro-perspective of firms and inter-firm networks. We propose the concept of relational upgrading as complementary to the traditional upgrading of activities such as products, processes or functions. Based on a core–periphery model, we argue that countries may reap additional benefits when moving from peripheral to more central market positions. Drawing on methods of generalized blockmodeling, we demonstrate how formerly peripheral countries in the trade of stock photography have successfully upgraded their market positions over a period of 12 years through increasing integration of their firms in the global value network. The analysis contributes to a relational and comprehensive understanding of upgrading, which suggests combining the upgrading of both, activities and relational positions in global networks to reap additional benefits.
Article
Digital technologies have enabled the geographical expansion of production and the distribution of creative goods and communication. Simultaneously, the number of trade fairs and congresses has increased. This rise of temporary encounters has led to theorizations of events as marketplaces, learning sites and field-configuring practices. This article elaborates on the metaphor of rewiring to propose and empirically demonstrate a further role of industry events for global business. Drawing on the case of the global stock photo trade, we use a unique survey to map the global network of sales partnerships as well as interviews conducted at international lead congresses to demonstrate how these events are enacted as social relays. Our findings demonstrate how temporary face-to-face contact facilitates long distance relationships between organizations and how it dynamically shapes the global industry network. Thus, we contribute to closing the gap between social action at the micro level, organizational linkages at the meso level and the structure of global industry networks at the macro level.
Article
One of the most powerful aspects of social network data is the fact that they can reproduce social relationships in a formal and comparable way. Relational matrices abstract from the hustle and bustle of everyday interaction, and systematise information in terms of presence or absence of ties expressing them in a directed or undirected, binary or valued form. While the formal approach represents an advantage of social network analysis, as it allows bracketing off the idiosyncratic and subjective content of social structures, the mathematization of the complex nature of social relationships has also been criticised for the lack of engagement with the subjective meaning and context of relationships. Such stream of critique has called for an increase of use of qualitative methods in social network research. The first goal of the paper is to address these critiques by rebalancing the argument and showing how social network analysis has always engaged with both formal and contextual aspects of social structures. The paper reviews some theoretical perspectives that discuss and systematise a mixed method approach, and explores the methodological advantages of using network visualizations together with qualitative interviews in the collection, analysis and interpretation of personal networks. The advantages of adopting a mixed method approach are illustrated over some examples of friendship networks of 23 single male and female people collected in Milan, Italy, in 2005. A classic name generator is used to reconstruct their egonets of friends, and the visualization is adopted as the input for in-depth interviews with specific attention devoted to the meaning of friendship relationships, the kind of resources they offer, the conflicts and constrains they entail, and how they have developed and evolved over time. By comparing information obtained respectively with name generators and in-depth interviews, the paper shows how the mix of data improves and specify the understanding of personal networks.
Chapter
Introduction: The Problem of EmbeddednessOver-and Undersocialized Conceptions of Human Action in Sociology and EconomicsEmbeddedness, Trust, and Malfeasance in Economic LifeThe Problem of Markets and Hierarchies
Article
The “performativity thesis” is the claim that parts of contemporary economics and finance, when carried out into the world by professionals and popularizers, reformat and reorganize the phenomena they purport to describe, in ways that bring the world into line with theory. Practical technologies, calculative devices and portable algorithms give actors tools to implement particular models of action. I argue that social network analysis is performative in the same sense as the cases studied in this literature. Social network analysis and finance theory are similar in key aspects of their development and effects. For the case of economics, evidence for weaker versions of the performativity thesis is quite good, and the strong formulation is circumstantially supported. Network theory easily meets the evidential threshold for the weaker versions. I offer empirical examples that support the strong (or “Barnesian”) formulation. Whether these parallels are a mark in favor of the thesis or a strike against it is an open question. I argue that the social network technologies and models now being “performed” build out systems of generalized reciprocity, connectivity, and commons-based production. This is in contrast both to an earlier network imagery that emphasized self-interest and entrepreneurial exploitation of structural opportunities, and to the model of action typically considered to be performed by economic technologies.
Article
There are growing calls for social network analysis methods to be more extensively deployed in environmental governance practice. A key claim is that social network analysis can generate knowledge to build trust, enable consensus, and facilitate the dissemination of information necessary to make environmental protection ‘successful’. By bringing social network analysis into dialogue with heterodox social theories relevant to human geographers and cognate social scientists, this article destabilizes such claims. It is argued that the current application of social network analysis enacts a particular moral and political emphasis on resilience and participation, which readily works with the grain of hegemonic environmental governance.
Article
Using grounded theory as an example, this paper examines three methodological questions that are generally applicable to all qualitative methods. How should the usual scientific canons be reinterpreted for qualitative research? How should researchers report the procedures and canons used in their research? What evaluative criteria should be used in judging the research products? The basic argument we propose is that the criteria should be adapted to fit the procedures of the method. We demonstrate how we have done this with grounded theory and suggest criteria for evaluating studies done in this mode. We suggest that other qualitative researchers might be similarly specific about their procedures and evaluative criteria.
Article
In this article, based on a critical reading of the literature, as well as recent data that I have obtained by revisiting a number of Turkish firms whose original case studies were published a few years ago, I make the claim that the concept of upgrading, as conventionally conceived by the students of the apparel industry, has serious limitations. And then in considering where we can go from here, I point to the potential of simply understanding and measuring the different capacities of profit making and capital accumulation among firms—quite independently of whether they upgrade or not.
Article
Social network research is widely considered atheoretical. In contrast, in this article I argue that network analysis often mixes two distinct theoretical frameworks, creating a logically inconsistent foundation. Relationalism rejects essentialism and a priori categories and insists upon the intersubjectivity of experience and meaning as well as the importance of the content of interactions and their historical setting. Formalism is based on a structuralist interpretation of the theoretical works of Georg Simmel. Simmel laid out a neo-Kantian program of identifying a priori categories of relational types and patterns that operate independently of cultural content or historical setting. Formalism and relationalism are internally consistent theoretical perspectives, but there are tensions between them. To pave the way for stronger middle-range theoretical development, I disaggregate the two approaches and highlight the contradictions that must be addressed or resolved for the construction of any general and inclusive theory.
Article
In recent years there has been a growing interest in research approaches that can better inform policy and practice and lend to social action. This article describes four models of action-oriented research: action, participatory, empowerment, and feminist research. The historical roots, epistemological assumptions, agendas, and methodological strategies of each are discussed. Common features and distinguishing characteristics are examined. The article concludes by discussing implications derived from action-oriented research for family researchers and other social scientists interested in making their work more relevant to practice, policy, and social action.
Article
In this article, I reassess the undeserved reputation of Inditex’s Zara as a ‘home-sewn exception to globalization’ for supposedly keeping manufacturing at home despite larger trends; and I use the occasion to make a case for rigorous, evidentially strong single-firm case studies. In the process, I draw attention to the manner in which the value-adding qualities of scholarly work are being judged in economic geography; and argue that the prioritization of novelty over unenhanced readings of realities may encourage case studies to be presented as more unique and exceptional than they actually are.
Article
Network researchers have argued that both relational embeddedness—characteristics of relationships—and structural embeddedness—characteristics of the relational structure—influence firm behavior and performance. Using strategic alliance networks in the semiconductor and steel industries, we build on past embeddedness research by examining the interaction of these factors. We argue that the roles relational and structural embeddedness play in firm performance can only be understood with reference to the other. Moreover, we argue that the influence of these factors on firm performance is contingent on industry context. More specifically, our empirical analysis suggests that strong ties in a highly interconnected strategic alliance network negatively impact firm performance. This network configuration is especially suboptimal for firms in the semiconductor industry. Furthermore, strong and weak ties are positively related to firm performance in the steel and semiconductor industries, respectively. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The article argues that the lack of convincing empirical evidence for the global economy as being subject to ‘command and control’ results from that contention being a neo-Marxist myth. First, imagining the global economy as being subject to ‘highly concentrated command’ through the function of some major cities as ‘strategic sites’ for the production of ‘command and control’ is traced back through several neo-Marxist authors to narrate its genesis, and to argue that the lack of evidence for that proposition is a consequence of those antecedents envisioning capitalism as a totalizing structure, thus making the assumption that it is subject to control and coordination from a distance. Second, Taylor's interlocking world city network model is forensically examined to explain that it is fallacious because it is a structuralism that, bedevilled by a sorites paradox, contains the further problem of containing no credible evidence for the existence of ‘command centres’. Finally, the article moves beyond neo-Marxism's key concepts by juxtaposing their assumptions with ethnographic results from social studies of finance, a manoeuvre which forges an understanding of cities as socio-technical assemblages and eventful multiplicities, beyond, inter alia, the baseless assumption that the global economy is subject to ‘command and control’.
Article
Accepting that a given type of tie in a network may have multiple meanings, we propose that this heterogeneity of meaning leaves traces in the network's micro- and macrostructure. By analyzing the variegated structure of a historical network, along with multiple other ties connecting its participants, we infer how different available meanings of a given type of tie were dominant in different parts of the network and social space. In this way we make a methodological and empirical contribution to recent debates linking network structure and cultural meaning. Meaning diversity arises from actors’ differential exposure to distinctive social contexts, or “netdoms,” and differential embeddedness of their ties in other networks within a multiple-network social ecology. We illustrate our argument using a directed-tie network of 3590 personal loans involving 2223 actors in Renaissance Florence. Within the network, we find a strong component marked by complex microstructures of reciprocation and triangulation and actors’ frequent participation in business and civic administration. Outside the strong component, lending was sparser, unreciprocated, and frequently conducted within family, apparently according to traditional lending norms. We suggest ways in which our methodological approach to discerning variety in relational meaning using multiple-networks can be generalized to other cases.
Article
Editor's Note. Three years ago, I invited Robert (Bob) Gephart to write a "From the Editors" column designed to help authors improve their chances of success when submitting qualitative research to AMJ. Judging from the increasing number of quali- tative studies that have been accepted and pub- lished in AMJ since that time, I would like to think that his article, "Qualitative Research and the Academy of Management Journal," has had a pos- itive impact. Continuing in this tradition, I asked Roy Sud- daby—an excellent reviewer (and author) of quali- tative research—to tackle another "big issue" that the editorial team has noticed with respect to qual- itative submissions to AMJ: overly generic use of the term "grounded theory" and confusion regard- ing alternative epistemological approaches to qual- itative research. Like Bob before him, Roy has, I believe, produced an analysis that will greatly ben- efit those who are relatively new to qualitative re- search or who have not yet had much success in getting their qualitative research published. Hope- fully, Roy's analysis will help even more authors to succeed, thus allowing AMJ and other journals to continue to increase the quality of insights pro- vided by rich qualitative studies of individual, or- ganizational, and institutional phenomena. Sara L. Rynes