Sub-theme 14: (SWG) Organizational Network Research: Bridging and Bridges in Organizational Networks

Terry L. Amburgey
University of Toronto, Canada
Barak S. Aharonson
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Jörg Raab
Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Call for Papers

Network dynamics and processes are the continuing, primary foci of this SWG. As a consequence we continue to encourage the submission of papers that fall into the following four general areas:

  • Studies that shed more light on the underlying processes of causal relationships between structural characteristics and outcomes of inter-organizational relations and networks.
  • Studies that look at actions of individuals and organizations in inter-organizational relations and networks over time.
  • Studies that analyze and explain process patterns of inter-organizational relations and networks or use them to explain various outcomes.
  • Studies that describe and analyze the dynamic evolution and change of networks and their antecedents.

The Colloquium sub-theme of Bridging is easily incorporated into our standing working group, since bridging is fundamental to the existence of organizational networks; the ties forming networks are always a bridge between two or more actors. The Colloquium emphasis on Continents, Cultures and Worldviews suggests several areas for exploration within organizational networks.

The theme of bridging continents naturally extends to organizational networks whose members are dispersed across continents. Transnational networks have become important components of modern society and the challenges of managing inter-organizational relationships across national boundaries are a key focus of organizational and management scholars. Transnational networks also lead, quite naturally, into the bridging of cultures and an interest in the influence of national cultures on organizations and management. In particular, organizational networks that are transcultural will require at least some of the actors to have competencies in dealing with cultural pluralism.

However, we view bridging continents as a single instantiation of a broader bridging of locations. Other forms of bridging across geographic locations can involve bridges between different regions within national boundaries or even bridges between separate geographic agglomerations or clusters. It's also the case that location need not be defined by geography. Research on small world networks has shown quite convincingly that bridging ties between different regions of a larger network has very important consequences.

Just as continents are one category of geographic location, national cultures are only one category of a cultural system. A higher level category involves cultural clusters of national cultures. Lower levels involve regional cultures, sector cultures, or organizational cultures. Organizational networks spanning these categories of culture face similar issues to those spanning national cultures. The call for subtheme proposals points out "Organizations can be seen as a nexus of multiple logics, circuits of power and divergent identities oriented around professions, occupational groups and generations."

As a consequence, the idea of Bridging Worldviews becomes salient. An important instance of worldview bridging occurs when organizational networks bridge public and private organizations. On the one hand, there is an organizational logic devoted to some aspect of the public good and on the other, there is a logic devoted to seeking economic rents.

More specifically, we invite papers:

  • that examine bridging between geographic locations and network locations. In particular, research on the antecedents and consequences of location bridging;
  • that examine bridging between cultural systems of any category. In particular, research on the antecedents and consequences of cultural bridging;
  • that examine bridging between organizational world views such as public/private partnerships. In particular, research on the antecedents and consequences of bridging between world-views.

We especially welcome empirical papers, but are also open for innovative conceptual contributions.


Terry L. Amburgey is Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. His research interests include inter-organizational networks, organizational ecology, and quantitative methods. Terry has published articles in journals such as the 'Academy of Management Journal', 'Administrative Science Quarterly' and 'Strategic Management Journal'.
Barak S. Aharonson is Assistant Professor at the Strategic Management Department at Recanati Graduate School of Business, Tel-Aviv University, Israel. His research focuses on inter-organizational networks, organizational ecology and patterns of technological competition and cooperation among firms and their influence on a firm's performance. Aharonson published articles in journals such as 'Research Policy', 'Strategic Organization' and 'Industrial and Corporate Change'.
Jörg Raab received his PhD at the University of Konstanz, Germany, in 2000. He is currently Assistant Professor of Policy and Organization at the Department of Organization Studies, Tilburg, The Netherlands. His research focuses on interorganizational networks, public organizations, networks and teams and dark networks as organizational problems. He has published in numerous edited volumes and in journals such as the 'Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory', 'Journal of Management Inquiry' and 'Organization Studies'.