1. Has your firm participated in any mergers or acquisitions in the past three years? What was the nature of these actions? Did they result in a consolidation of competitors?
2. Research what strategic alliances your firm has entered in the past three years. If there are several of these, choose the three you identify as the most important for further analysis. Based on company press releases and business journal reports for each alliance, what do you find to be the main reason the firm entered these alliances?
3. Do you think each of the three alliances achieves the original intent, and therefore is successful? Why or why not?
4. Does your firm have an identifiable alliance-management organization? Can you find any evidence that this organization improves the likelihood of success for these alliances? What responsibilities does this alliance-management organization have in your firm?
5. Go to LinkedIn ( and see what executive officers or groups your firm may have set up on the professional networking site. Next, look to see if the firm has a “fan page” on Facebook. Is there also a “detractors page” for your firm? How would you assess your firm’s use of web networks and social media for its business?
6. Create a list of up to 12 people at your university with whom you regularly communicate (in person, electronically, or both). Draw your network (place names or initials next to each node), and connect every node where people you communicate with also talk to one another (i.e., indicate friends of friends) . Can you identify strong and weak ties in your network?
7. What is the degree of closure in your network? The density of your network reflects the degree of closure. Network density can be calculated in three simple steps.
8. Network density is bound by 0 and 1. Is a network density that approaches 1 the most beneficial? Why or why not? Think about weak ties, which can also be indirect connections.
9. Compare your network to that of your group members (two to four people in your class). Do you find any commonalities in your networks? Who has the greatest social capital, and why? What can you do to “optimize” your network structure?
10. Can you draw the joint network of your study group? In this joint (study group) network, can you identify different network positions such as those discussed in the chapter, centrally located person(s) and broker(s), or a person who connects different clusters? Can you identify people with high and low social capital? Are there any dense clusters in this network? Would that indicate the existence of cliques? Is it a small-world network? What other implications can you draw?

  • CreatedDecember 12, 2014
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