Network Theory and Small Groups

  • Katz N
  • Lazer D
  • Arrow H
 et al. 
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Abstract

This article describes the network approach to small groups. First, the core constructs that compose social network research are explained. The primary theories that provide the intellectual underpinning of the network approach are described, including theories of self-interest, theories of social exchange or dependency, theories of mutual or collective interest, cognitive theories, and theories of homophily. Highlights of the empirical work examining the internal and external networks of small groups is summarized. Finally, the primary challenges researchers face when applying the network perspective to small groups, and the primary benefits that can accrue to researchers who adopt that perspective, are enumerated.

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Authors

  • Nancy Katz

  • David Lazer

  • Holly Arrow

  • Noshir Contractor

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