Date Added: Sep 2009
Recent research shows that preexisting network structure constrains the formation of new interorganizational alliances. Firms that are poorly embedded in a network structure are less likely than richly embedded firms to form alliances, because they lack informational and reputational benefits. This paper examines the types of ties that poorly embedded firms can form to overcome the constraints that their structural positions impose, in turn helping to explain how firms' actions can transform existing network structures. They argue that poorly embedded firms are more likely to participate in ties characterized by social asymmetry than in ties characterized by structural homophily. The authors analyze the terms of trade that socially asymmetric partners negotiate for alliance governance and discuss how such alliances influence network dynamics.