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Najung Kim, Joseph P. Broschak, and Ruth V. Aguilera


First Author :

Najung Kim
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
350A Wohlers Hall, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61866

217-244-7969 (Fax)

Second Author :

Joseph P. Broschak
Management and Organizations
University of Arizona, Eller College of Management
405 McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721


Third Author :

Ruth V. Aguilera
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
306 Wohlers Hall, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820

217-244-7969 (Fax)

Abstract :
Over the past twenty years, research on social embeddedness and socially embedded exchange has grown to occupy a prominent place in organizational theory research. But while a large volume of research makes reference to the construct of social embeddedness, few papers have attempted to assess the state of our knowledge about the construct. In this paper, we take stock of our field’s understanding of the construct of social embeddedness. We systemically review and analyze 346 articles in seven prominent journals to examine how researchers’ use of the construct of social embeddedness has developed and changed over the twenty years since original Granovetter’s (1985) article on socially-embedded exchange. We identify trends and themes in social embeddedness research and in other research that, in various ways, invokes the social embeddedness argument. Our results show that the majority of studies invoking social embeddedness use the argument for peripheral purposes. Moreover the studies using social embeddedness as their core argument concentrate on a specific element of social embeddedness, not the whole argument. We conclude our paper by outlining further steps in progress of an increased understanding of social embeddedness.
Keywords :
Economic sociology, Social embeddedness, Social relations
Manuscript Received : 2008
Manuscript Published : 2008
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