Social Structure and Competition in Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness
The purpose of this work is to develop a systematic understanding of embeddedness and organization networks. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at 23 entrepreneurial firms, I identify the components of embedded relationships and explicate the devices by which embeddedness shapes organizational and economic outcomes. The findings suggest that embeddedness is a logic of exchange that promotes economies of time, integrative agreements, Pareto improvements in allocative efficiency, and complex adaptation. These positive effects rise up to a threshold, however, after which embeddedhess can derail economic performance by making firms vulnerable to exogenous shocks or insulating them from information that exists beyond their network. A framework is proposed that explains how these properties vary with the quality of social ties, the structure of the organization network, and an organization's structural position in the network."