Mark Granovetter
Mark Sanford Granovetter

(1943-10-20) October 20, 1943 (age 80)
Alma materPrinceton University (AB)
Harvard University (PhD)
Known forSocial network theory
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University
ThesisChanging jobs : channels of mobility information in a suburban population (1970)
Doctoral advisorHarrison White
Doctoral studentsEmilio J. Castilla
Mark Mizruchi[1]
Brian Uzzi
Other notable studentsWalter W. Powell Edit this at Wikidata

Mark Sanford Granovetter (/ˈɡrænəvɛtər/; born October 20, 1943) is an American sociologist and professor at Stanford University.[2] He is best known for his work in social network theory and in economic sociology, particularly his theory on the spread of information in social networks known as The Strength of Weak Ties (1973).[3] In 2014 Granovetter was named a Citation Laureate by Thomson Reuters and added to that organization’s list of predicted Nobel Prize winners in economics. Data from the Web of Science show that Granovetter has written both the first and third most cited sociology articles.[4]


Granovetter earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Princeton University (1965) and a PhD in sociology at Harvard University (1970). At Harvard his research was supervised by Harrison White.[citation needed]

Career and research

Granovetter is currently[when?] the Joan Butler Ford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford and is the chair of the Department of Sociology. He previously worked at Northwestern University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Johns Hopkins University.[5]

The strength of weak ties

Main article: Interpersonal ties

Granovetter's paper The Strength of Weak Ties is one of the most influential articles in social science, with over 60,000 citations according to Google Scholar[4] (As of November 2021). Its thesis is that weak ties—acquaintanceships that are not reinforced by many mutual friendships—are especially pivotal in the flow of information. It has become a core idea in the field of social networks. In marketing, information science, or politics, weak ties enable reaching populations and audiences that are not accessible via strong ties. The concepts and findings of this work were later published in the monograph Getting A Job, an adaptation of Granovetter's doctoral dissertation at Harvard University's Department of Social Relations, with the title: "Changing Jobs: Channels of Mobility Information in a Suburban Population" (313 pages).

In 1969 Granovetter submitted this paper to American Sociological Review, but it was rejected. Eventually this pioneering research was published in 1973 in American Journal of Sociology and became the most cited work in the social sciences.[6]

Economic sociology: Embeddedness

In the field of economic sociology, Granovetter has been a leader since the publication in 1985 of an article that launched "new economic sociology", "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness". This article caused Granovetter to be identified with the concept of "embeddedness", the idea that economic relations between individuals or firms are embedded in actual social networks and do not exist in an abstract idealized market. The concept of embeddedness originated with Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation, where Polanyi posited that all economies are embedded in social relations and institutions. Granovetter also published a book called Society and Economy (2017).

"Tipping points" and threshold models

Granovetter has done research on a model of how fads are created. Consider a hypothetical mob assuming that each person's decision whether to riot or not is dependent on what everyone else is doing. Instigators will begin rioting even if no one else is, while others need to see a critical number of trouble makers before they riot, too. This threshold is assumed to be distributed to some probability distribution. The outcomes may diverge largely although the initial condition of threshold may only differ very slightly. This threshold model of social behavior was proposed previously by Thomas Schelling and later popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point.

Security influence

Granovetter's work has influenced researchers in capability-based security. Interactions in these systems can be described using "Granovetter diagrams", which illustrate changes in the ties between objects.[7]


His publications[4] include:

- Reprinted in Marsden, Peter V.; Lin, Nan, eds. (1982). Social Structure and Network Analysis. Sage. ISBN 978-0-8039-1888-7.


  1. ^ Mizruchi, Mark (1980). The structure of the American corporate network: 1904-1974 (PhD thesis). p. ii. OCLC 7297026. ProQuest 303081789.
  2. ^ "Mgranovetter". Archived from the original on 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2007-11-06. Mark Granovetter, Stanford University
  3. ^ Granovetter, M. S. (1973). "The Strength of Weak Ties" (PDF). The American Journal of Sociology. 78 (6): 1360–1380. doi:10.1086/225469. JSTOR 2776392. S2CID 59578641.
  4. ^ a b c Mark Granovetter publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ Curriculum Vitae Archived 2006-09-08 at the Wayback Machine, November 2005, from Stanford University website
  6. ^ Schussler, Karl. 1969. American Sociological Review Rejection Letter 1969. [1]
  7. ^ J.B. Dennis and E.C. Van Horn. Programming semantics for multiprogrammed computations. Communications of the ACM, 9(3):143--155, March 1966. Citeseer entry