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Between Monopoly and Free TradeThe English East India Company, 1600-1757$
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Emily Erikson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159065

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159065.001.0001

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Social Networks and the East Indiaman

Social Networks and the East Indiaman

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 4 Social Networks and the East Indiaman
Source:
Between Monopoly and Free Trade
Author(s):

Emily Erikson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691159065.003.0004

This chapter identifies how organizational context affects individual behavior and the propensity to incorporate information from peers into important operational decisions. The identification of this relationship illuminates, in turn, the larger question of how—or the mechanisms by which—decentralization contributed to the pattern of innovation found in the English Company. The analysis focuses on evaluating the relative importance of different types of information in leading captains to choose trade in one port over another, including formal orders given by the Company, a personal history of contact with ports, and information transmitted via social networks from ship to ship. The results show that social networks were an important source of information for captains when deciding which port to travel to next.

Keywords:   organizational context, social networks, decentralization, operational decisions, patterns of innovation, choosing ports

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