Diversity and trust in the newsroom : examining the role of homophily on establishing trust using ERGM




Lee, Seok Ho

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This dissertation focuses on the trust relationship in the newsroom to examine journalists’ status-based homophily, which refers to an individual’s tendency that similarity in social statuses breeds informal connection at work. It analyzes South Korean newspapers as a case study because their newsroom composition has become diverse and intergroup relationships emerged as a key issue for newsroom management. Trust at work serve facilitates knowledge, information, and the skill set relevant to organizational survival. However, trust is not shared by everyone because status-based homophily governs the informal relationship. In particular, separated informal relationships between the majority with power and control and minority groups lead to the following research question of “which social characteristics of individuals that represent a symbol of social statuses at work generate homophily in journalists’ trust?” To answer this research question, the author incorporated network homophily and social identity theory as main theoretical frameworks and employed inferential network analysis with the Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM) as a primary methodological approach. Considering the unique nature of local characteristics in South Korea, the author assesses five social statuses on South Korean journalists’ homophilous tendency in their trust network: (1) gender, (2) tenure, (3) academic prestige (4) recruitment, and (5) competence. In particular, a separate empirical analysis on two cases of the South Korean newspapers verifies whether status-based homophily is consistently found across the newspapers with different cultures and organizational composition. The inferential network analysis of ERGM identified tenure-based homophily for both newspapers, while recruitment-based homophily and competence-based homophily were only found in one of the newspapers. Gender-based homophily became statistically insignificant as additional status-based homophily terms were added, which shows its relative weakness in determining journalists’ homophilous tendency compared to other status-based homophily terms. Academic prestige-based homophily was not found to be significant for both newspapers. This dissertation will add more insight into the theoretical adaptation of the social network theory and its association with the journalism practice inside the newsroom. Primarily, newsroom managers will learn a practical implication of how to manage the growing diversity inside the newsroom to unlock the positive effect of diversity.


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