Encyclopedia of Social Network Analysis and Mining

2018 Edition
| Editors: Reda Alhajj, Jon Rokne

Structural Holes

  • Alona Labun
  • Rafael Wittek
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-7131-2_263



Aggregate constraint

The sum of dyadic constraints imposed on a focal actor by all his contacts

Dyadic constraint

Degree to which a focal actor’s primary contact can constrain exchange opportunities with third parties

Effective size

The number of non-redundant contacts in a focal actor’s personal network

Redundant tie

A tie to a cluster of contacts to which a focal actor already has ties with other actors

Secondary hole

Gaps in the networks of a focal actor’s primary contacts


A structural hole refers to an “empty space” between contacts in a person’s network. It means that these contacts do not interact closely (though they may be aware of one another). Actors on either side of the structural hole have access to different flows of information (see Fig. 1). Structural holes therefore reflect “an opportunity to broker the flow of information between people, and controlthe...
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Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jeugdhulp FrieslandLeeuwardenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Theoretical Sociology – Department of SociologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Przemysław Kazienko
    • 1
  • Jaroslaw Jankowski
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Management, Institute of InformaticsWrocław University of TechnologyWrocławPoland
  2. 2.Faculty of Computer Science and Information TechnologyWest Pomeranian University of TechnologySzczecinPoland