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Better With Age? Tie Longevity And The Performance Implications Of Bridging And Closure

J. Baum, Bill McEvily, Tim J. Rowley
Published 2012 · Business, Computer Science

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We examine the extent to which performance effects of firms' network positions vary with the ages of the ties comprising those positions. Our analysis of Canadian investment banks' underwriting syndicate ties indicates that the performance benefits of closure ties increase with age, whereas benefits of bridging ties decrease with age. We also find that benefits yielded by hybrid network positions, combining elements of both closure and bridging, are greatest when old closure ties are combined with either very young or very old bridging ties. Our findings support the idea that the advantages firms gain (or do not) from their network positions depend on the relational character of the ties comprising them, highlighting the risk of theorizing structural network effects without also considering the relational and temporal dynamics associated with network positions.
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