Network analysis: emergence, criticism and recent trends


  • Charles Kirschbaum Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa



Social capital, Network analysis, Economic sociology, Relational sociology


Purpose – Network analysis is a well consolidated research area in several disciplines. Within management and organizational studies, network scholars consolidated a set of research practices that allowed ease of data collection, high inter case comparability, establishment of nomological laws and commitment to social capital motivation. This paper aims to elicit the criticism it has received and highlight the unsettled lacunae. Design/methodology/approach – This paper sheds light on Network Analysis’s breakthroughs, while showing how its scholars innovated by responding to critics, and identifying outstanding debates. Findings – The paper identifies and discusses three streams of criticism that are still outstanding: the role of human agency, the meaning of social ties and the treatment of temporality. Originality/value – This paper brings to fore current debates within the Network Analysis community, highlighting areas where future studies might contribute.


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