Burt and Burzynska (2017) have produced a very significant and innovative study on social networks among Chinese entrepreneurs. As the authors claim, this may be an exceptional dataset with certain unique features. It is a comparative study between Chinese and American entrepreneurs. While the American data is rather limited in scope, it does provide valuable theoretical and measurement information by which to examine possible similarities and differences of the private enterprises and entrepreneurs in these two societies. Second, it examines two general network principles, namely the association between brokerage and success, and between closure and trust. In general, the study affirms comparable results in the two societies, though somewhat different measurements require cautious interpretation. Third, the authors explore two innovative notions worthy of our attention. They employ events as the frames on which social ties (contacts) were generated (Table A1). This turns out to be very fruitful. For example, the founding event provided interesting social network information, more so than current and other events. The event-name generators reveal the time-related dynamics of network stability and changes, and alert us to possible underestimation of network effects if only the current event or the present time is examined. Finally, the authors attempt possible network measures for the notion of guanxi. This exploration sets the initial stage for more rigorous measures of guanxi in future studies of entrepreneurs in China and other societies.
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