You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:


Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups

Balázs Vedres and David Stark
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 115, No. 4 (January 2010), pp. 1150-1190
DOI: 10.1086/649497
Stable URL:
Page Count: 41
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Download PDF
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


Entrepreneurial groups face a twinned challenge: recognizing and implementing new ideas. We argue that entrepreneurship is less about importing ideas than about generating new knowledge by recombining resources. In contrast to the brokerage-plus-closure perspective, we address the overlapping of cohesive group structures. In analyzing the network processes of intercohesion, we identify a distinctive network topology: the structural fold. Actors at the structural fold are multiple insiders, facilitating familiar access to diverse resources. Our data set records personnel ties among the largest 1,696 Hungarian enterprises from 1987 to 2001. First, we test whether structural folding contributes to group performance. Second, because entrepreneurship is a process of generative disruption, we test the contribution of structural folds to group instability. Third, we move from dynamic methods to historical network analysis and demonstrate that coherence is a property of interwoven lineages of cohesion, built up through repeated separation and reunification.

Notes and References

This item contains 58 references.

  • ['Baum, Joel A. C., Bill McEvily, and Tim Rowley. 2007. “Better with Age: The Longevity and the Performance Implications of Bridging and Closure.” Working paper no. 1032282. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.']
  • ['Breiger, Ronald L. 1974. “The Duality of Persons and Groups.” Social Forces 53 (2): 181–90.']
  • ['Brudner, Lilyan A., and Douglas R. White. 1997. “Class, Property, and Structural Endogamy: Visualizing Networked Histories.” Theory and Society 26:161–208.']
  • ['Burris, Val. 2005. “Interlocking Directorates and Political Cohesion among Corporate Elites.” American Journal of Sociology 111 (1): 249–83.']
  • ['Burt, Ronald S. 1992. Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.']
  • ['———. 2005. Brokerage and Closure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.']
  • ['———. 2008. “Information and Structural Holes: Comment on Reagans and Zuckerman.” Industrial and Corporate Change 17 (5): 953–69.']
  • ['Dewey, John. (1938) 1998. “The Pattern of Inquiry.” Pp. 169–79 in The Essential Dewey, vol. 2, Ethics, Logic, Psychology. Edited by Larry A. Hickman and Thomas M. Alexander. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.']
  • ['Dodds, Peter Sheridan, Duncan J. Watts, and Charles F. Sabel. 2003. “Information Exchange and the Robustness of Organizational Networks.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (21): 12516–21.']
  • ['Everett, Martin G., and Stephen P. Borgatti. 1998. “Analyzing Clique Overlap.” Connections 21 (1): 49–61.']
  • ['Fernandez‐Mateo, Isabel. 2007. “Who Pays the Price of Brokerage? Transferring Constraint through Price Setting in the Staffing Sector.” American Sociological Review 72 (2): 291–317.']
  • ['Festinger, Leon, Stanley Schachter, and Kurt W. Back. 1950. Social Pressures in Informal Groups: A Study of Human Factors in Housing. New York: Harper.']
  • ['Field, Sam, Kenneth A. Frank, Kathryn Schiller, Catherine Riegle‐Crumb, and Chandra Muller. 2006. “Identifying Positions from Affiliation Networks: Preserving the Duality of People and Events.” Social Networks 28:97–123.']
  • ['Figyelő. 2002. “Kétszázak klubja 2001.” In Figyelő Top 200.']
  • ["Freeman, Linton C. 1992. “The Sociological Concept of `Group': An Empirical Test of Two Models.” American Journal of Sociology 98 (1): 152–66."]
  • ['Friedkin, Noah E. 2004. “Social Cohesion.” Annual Review of Sociology 30:409–25.']
  • ['Gould, Roger V. 2003. Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity about Social Rank Breeds Conflict. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.']
  • ['Granovetter, Mark. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 78 (6): 1360–80.']
  • ['———. 1985. “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness.” American Journal of Sociology 91 (3): 481–510.']
  • ['———. 2005. “Business Groups and Social Organization.” Pp. 429–50 in Handbook of Economic Sociology, 2d ed. Edited by Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press; New York: Russell Sage.']
  • ['Khanna, Tarun, and Jan W. Rivkin. 2001. “Estimating the Performance Effects of Business Groups in Emerging Markets.” Strategic Management Journal 22:45–74.']
  • ['Kogut, Bruce, and Udo Zander. 1992. “Knowledge of the Firm, Combinative Capabilities, and the Replication of Technology.” Organization Science 3:383–97.']
  • ['Lester, Richard K., and Michael J. Piore. 2004. Innovation: The Missing Dimension. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.']
  • ['Lincoln, James R., Michael L. Gerlach, and Christina L. Ahmadjian. 1996. “Keiretsu Networks and Corporate Performance in Japan.” American Sociological Review 61:67–88.']
  • ['McPherson, Miller, and Lynn Smith‐Lovin. 2002. “Cohesion and Membership Duration: Linking Groups, Relations and Individuals in an Ecology of Affiliation.” Advances in Group Processes 19:1–36.']
  • ['McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith‐Lovin, and James M. Cook. 2001. “Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks.” Annual Review of Sociology 27:415–44.']
  • ['Mizruchi, Mark S. 1996. “What Do Interlocks Do? An Analysis, Critique, and Assessment of Research on Interlocking Directorates.” Annual Review of Sociology 22:271–98.']
  • ['Mizruchi, Mark S., and Linda Brewster Stearns. 1988. “A Longitudinal Study of the Formation of Interlocking Directorates.” Administrative Science Quarterly 33:194–210.']
  • ['Moody, James A., and Douglas R. White. 2003. “Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Concept of Social Groups.” American Sociological Review 68 (1): 103–27.']
  • ['Moreno Jacob L. and Helen H. Jennings. 1937. “Statistics of Social Configurations.” Sociometry 1 (3/4): 342–74.']
  • ['Nyírő, András, and István Szakadát. 1993. Politika Interaktív. CD‐ROM. Budapest: Aula.']
  • ['Obstfeld, David. 2005. “Social Networks, the Tertius Iungens Orientation, and Involvement in Innovation.” Administrative Science Quarterly 50 (1): 100–30.']
  • ['Padgett, John F., and Paul D. McLean. 2006. “Organizational Invention and Elite Transformation: The Birth of Partnership Systems in Renaissance Florence.” American Journal of Sociology 111 (5): 1463–1568.']
  • ['Palla, Gergely, Imre Derényi, Illés Farkas, and Tamás Vicsek. 2005. “Uncovering the Overlapping Community Structure of Complex Networks in Nature and Society.” Nature 435 (7043): 814–18.']
  • ['Palla, Gergely, Albert László Barabási, and Tamás Vicsek. 2007. “Quantifying Social Group Evolution.” Nature 466 (7136): 664–67.']
  • ['Powell, Walter W., Douglas R. White, Kenneth W. Koput, and Jason Owen‐Smith. 2005. “Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Interorganizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences.” American Journal of Sociology 110 (4): 1132–1205.']
  • ['Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1934. The Theory of Economic Development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.']
  • ['———. 2003. Essays: On Entrepreneurs, Innovations, Business Cycles, and the Evolution of Capitalism. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.']
  • ['Sewell, William H., Jr. 1992. “A Theory of Structure: Duality, Agency and Transformation.” American Journal of Sociology 98:1–29.']
  • ['Simmel, Georg. 1898. “The Persistence of Social Groups.” American Journal of Sociology 3 (5): 662–98.']
  • ['———. (1922) 1964. Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations. New York: Free Press.']
  • ['Skvoretz, John, and Katherine Faust. 1999. “Logit Models for Affiliation Networks.” Sociological Methodology 29:253–80.']
  • ['Spicer, Andrew, Gerald A. McDermott, and Bruce Kogut. 2000. “Entrepreneurship and Privatization in Central Europe: The Tenuous Balance between Destruction and Creation.” Academy of Management Review 25:630–49.']
  • ['Stark, David. 1996. “Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism.” American Journal of Sociology 101 (4): 993–1027.']
  • ['———. 2009. The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.']
  • ['Stark, David, and Laszlo Bruszt. 1998. Postsocialist Pathways: Transforming Politics and Property in East Central Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press.']
  • ['Stark, David, and Balázs Vedres. 2006. “Social Times of Network Spaces: Network Sequences and Foreign Investment in Hungary.” American Journal of Sociology 111 (5): 1367–1412.']
  • ['Thye, Shane R., Jeongkoo Yoon, and Edward J. Lawler. 2002. “The Theory of Relational Cohesion: Review of a Research Program.” Advances in Group Processes 19:139–66.']
  • ['Useem, Michael. 1980. “Corporations and the Corporate Elite.” Annual Review of Sociology 6:41–77.']
  • ['Uzzi, Brian. 1997. “Social Structure and Competition in Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness.” Administrative Science Quarterly 42:35–67.']
  • ['Uzzi, Brian, and Jarrett Spiro. 2005. “Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem.” American Journal of Sociology 111 (2): 447–504.']
  • ['Wasserman, Stanley, and Katherine Faust. 1994. Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.']
  • ['Watts, Duncan J. 1999. “Networks, Dynamics and the Small‐World Phenomenon.” American Journal of Sociology 105:493–527.']
  • ["———. 2004. “The `New' Science of Networks.” Annual Review of Sociology 30:243–70."]
  • ['Weitzman, Martin L. 1998. “Recombinant Growth.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 113 (2): 331–60.']
  • ['White, Douglas R., and Ulla C. Johansen. 2005. Network Analysis and Ethnographic Problems: Process Models of a Turkish Nomad Clan. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.']
  • ['White, Harrison C., Scott A. Boorman, and Ronald L. Breiger. 1976. “Social Structure from Multiple Networks, I: Blockmodels of Roles and Positions.” American Journal of Sociology 81 (4): 730–80.']
  • ['Wuchty, Stefan, Ben Jones, and Brian Uzzi. 2007. “The Increasing Dominance of Teams in the Production of Knowledge.” Science 316:1036–39.']
Part of Sustainability