Exploring elite cohesion in the intersection of networks and careers (Tied up?)
The aim of this study is to enhance our understanding of power elite cohesion. Power elites face the challenge of becoming and remaining insiders in two groups at the same time: in the networks surrounding their own organisation and in the networks of the power elite as a whole. Members of the power elite must achieve what Vedres and Stark (2010) call intercohesion: being a key member of two tightly knit cliques at once. But how do members of the power elite manage this tension? As a theoretical point of departure, the study reinterprets the notion of power elites developed by C. Wright Mills (1956). The power elite constitutes a social group. The cohesion of this group is achieved through sharing social traits, primarily social background, education and professional experience in the same organisations as well as through social interaction in elite networks. However, according to Mills, members of the power elite must also be leaders in their respective organisations and sectors. Therefore they must have positions of intercohesion. This study will enhance our understanding of how elite networks are perceived and used in different factions of the power elite. In short, the study asks how elite individuals are tied up by their different alliances.