Social Network Theory

  • Marla A. ParkerEmail author
Living reference work entry



Structural dimensions of interpersonal or interorganizational relationships that drive the development of the social capital connected to the development and implementation of public mission and policy.


Social network theory describes how the various dimensions comprising the content and structure of socially connected entities interact. Additionally, the various concepts within the larger realm of social network theory explain how various outcomes result from the social capital (i.e., resources emerging from relationships) generated among a body of connections. More specifically, social network theory provides very useful insights into how the creation, changes, and flow of various resources depend upon the pathways among connections, which can have positive and negative impacts. In the context of public administration, public policy, and governance, social network theory provides a useful lens for understanding key activities such as...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceCalifornia State University-Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA