The strength of weak conversational ties in the flow of information and influence

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Abstract

The "Strength of Weak Ties" theory is used to analyze the flow of information and influence in the network of conversational ties in a kibbutz community. The flow of six information items and two decision-making items was measured by indicators of communicative efficiency - speed, accuracy and credibility. The strength of ties activated and the direction of the flow (within groups or between groups) was analyzed. The findings reveal the actual, everyday functioning of weak ties as inter-group bridges, confirming the "Strength of Weak Ties" claim. The communicative advantages of weak ties are examined, applying structural analysis methods. The tendency of weak ties towards intransitivity and low multiplexity, is suggested to account for their frequent activation as inter-group bridges. The findings highlight the potential of social network analysis as a bridge between micro-level interaction and macro-level patterns including diffusion of innovation, formation of public opinion and social solidarity. Weak ties serve as the crucial paths between groups, thus providing the means by which individual behavior and ideas, originating in small face-to-face groups, are routinized and agglomerated into large-scale patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-267
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Networks
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)
  • Psychology (all)

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