Re: Counter-intuitive finding regarding one's personal social network #jobs #SNA-ONA-VNA

Patrick Lambe

I wonder if this is a function of your strong ties (people closer to you) seeing pretty much the same opportunity landscape you do, and moreover knowing your likes and dislikes, filter quite heavily before making suggestions?

Weaker ties see different opportunity landscapes from you, and don't know enough to filter.

This would be an interpretation folllowing Granovetter's classic 1973 article "The Strength of Weak Ties" 
American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360-1380.

However, the characteristics of the labour market and trust also seem to play a role in whether the weak ties work for you. see: which suggests that people who are also job hunting are simply more alert and attentive to job opportunities than people who are not.

and Ronald Burt has done some good work on trust and information transfer, Structural Holes (1992)

Or it could just be you've been fortunate enough to bump into a bunch of nice strangers.


On 10 Jun 2008, at 8:23 AM, Tom Short wrote:

I'm in the midst of job hunting, looking for my next position. One of
the tools I am using extensively for this is networking - no surprises
there, I guess. I'm part of a job search work team that is operated
by the outplacement services firm I'm signed up with (part of my
severance package - very helpful), and each week we meet for a couple
hours to compare notes, help each out with ideas/suggestions/support,

When the topic of networking comes up we are all surprised to discover
that when we ask for help making new connections - for instance in a
target employer - the most help comes from people we don't know well,
or at all. This is in stark contrast with the lack of help we get
from those who we would normally consider closest to us - our close
personal friends and family members. I have experienced this myself -
it was quite surprising at first, but now I just consider it normal.

This seems quite counter-intuitive to me in terms of the way social
capital is supposed to work - or am I missing something?

Anyone know of any research on this, or have experience, either
similar to the contrary?

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