A Structural Event Approach to the Analysis of Group Composition

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Since Simmel's early work on forms of association, the processes guiding group composition have commanded considerable attention in structural sociology, but have not led to a general methodology for examining compositional properties. By introducing a structural event approach, this study offers a new technique that is not restricted to analysis of dyads or triads nor post hoc analysis of those structural arrangements that are observed in a given sample. The approach is illustrated using data on 745 organizational founding teams. Structural event analysis separates choice behavior guiding team composition (with respect to ascribed and achieved characteristics of members) from structurally-induced behavior based on contact opportunities. Results suggest that the strong impact of ascriptive homophily may be tempered when functional considerations of group composition are addressed. However, many of the other arrangements that ostensibly pass as 'functional' are in fact induced by opportunity structures. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.





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Ruef, M (2002). A Structural Event Approach to the Analysis of Group Composition. Social Networks, 24(2). pp. 135–160. 10.1016/S0378-8733(01)00054-5 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26644.

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Martin Ruef

Jack and Pamela Egan Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship

My research considers the social context of entrepreneurship from both a contemporary and historical perspective. I draw on large-scale surveys of entrepreneurs in the United States to explore processes of team formation, innovation, exchange, and boundary maintenance in nascent business startups. My historical analyses address entrepreneurial activity and constraint during periods of profound institutional change. This work has considered a diverse range of sectors, including the organizational transformation of Southern agriculture and industry after the Civil War, African American entrepreneurship under Jim Crow, the transition of the U.S. healthcare system from professional monopoly to managed care, and the character of entrepreneurship during early mercantile and industrial capitalism.

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