Call for Papers
Although organizational network research has moved far from the structural determinism that characterized early statements
of the network perspective (Mayhew, 1980), the role of agency in networks – the abilities, skills and motivations of individual
social actors to purposefully orchestrate the social structure that surrounds them and take advantage of their network ties
– is still understudied (Emirbayer & Goodwin, 1994; Emirbayer & Mische, 1998). While prominent in the popular management
literature (e.g., Aalbers & Dolfsma, 2015; Cross & Thomas, 2009), network agency and network management are still
peripheral areas of inquiry in organisational network research (for notable exceptions, see Bensaou et al., 2014; Casciaro
et al., 2014; Soda et al., 2017; Berthod et al., 2017). When agency is an intrinsic component of a network argument, as it
is in structural-hole theory (Burt, 1992), it is often assumed to be operating, but rarely tested directly.
Consequently, we still lack a thorough understanding of how individuals and organisations can purposefully create network ties and network structures to achieve desired outcomes. Similarly, few scholars have attended to how organizational networks as a whole can be actively managed to reach individual and collective goals (Hoffmann, 2007; Provan & Kenis, 2008). In an effort to start filling these gaps, we look for research that investigates organisational actors’ attempts to actively manage networks, their creation, maintenance, and adaptation – both from the perspective of the individual actor and the network as a whole.
Possible topics for submissions include, but are not limited to, the following:
The interplay of formal and informal structure in organizations: how deliberate changes to organizational systems and processes can operate as mechanisms for altering organizational networks
Identification of structural properties of networks that should be purposefully designed to enhance individual and group effectiveness
The role of social tie content for network agency and management
The psychology of motivation as a precursor of network agency
Cultural and institutional mechanisms for network management
The dynamic interplay of structure and agency for goal attainment and performance
The role of network managers in shaping network processes and structures
As its overarching goal, the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG 07) on “Multi-Level Network Research” aims to encourage micro, macro and multi-level theorizing in organizational network research. The great opportunity presented by multi-level approaches to network theories of organizations has only recently crystallized in organizational discourse (Moliterno & Mahony, 2011; Oh et al., 2006; Payne et al., 2011; Phelps et al., 2012). This gap presents organizational scholars with a still largely untapped opportunity. Theorizing about organizational networks at either the micro or the macro level obscures insights that can be garnered by integrating the two. Significant advances are possible with research that relates micro-level social processes to the emergence – or purposeful creation – of social structure at the macro level. Likewise, macro-structural processes can influence the creation, stability and evolution of interpersonal networks within and between organizations. Therefore, we particularly welcome submissions that take multi-level issues into account when investigating the idea of network management.
- Aalbers, R., & Dolfsma, W. (2015): Innovation Networks: Managing the Networked Organization. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
- Bensaou, B. M., Galunic, C., & Jonczyk-Sédès, C. (2014): “Players and purists: Networking strategies and agency of service professionals.” Organization Science, 25 (1), 29–56.
- Berthod, O., Grothe-Hammer, M., Müller-Seitz, G., Raab, J., & Sydow, J. (2017): “From High-Reliability Organizations to High-Reliability Networks: The Dynamics of Network Governance in the Face of Emergency.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 27 (2), 352–371.
- Burt, R.S. (1992): Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Casciaro, T., Gino, F., & Kouchaki, M. (2014): “The contaminating effects of building instrumental ties how networking can make us feel dirty.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 59 (4), 705–735.
- Cross, R.L., & Thomas, R.J. (2009): Driving Results Through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Emirbayer, M., & Goodwin, J. (1994): “Network analysis, culture, and the problem of agency.” American Journal of Sociology, 99 (6), 1411–1454.
- Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998): “What is agency?” American Journal of Sociology, 103 (4), 962–1023.
- Hoffmann, W.H. (2007): “Strategies for managing a portfolio of alliances.” Strategic Management Journal, 28 (8), 827–856.
- Mayhew, B.H. (1980): “Structuralism versus individualism 1: Shadowboxing in the dark.” Social Forces, 59 (2), 335–375.
- Moliterno, T.P., & Mahony, D.M. (2011): “Network theory of organization: A multi-level approach.” Journal of Management, 37 (2), 443–467.
- Oh, H., Labianca, G., & Chung, M.-H. (2006): “A multi-level model of group social capital.” Academy of Management Review, 31 (3), 569–582.
- Payne, G.T., Moore, C.B., Griffis, S.E., & Autry, C.W. (2011): “Multi-level challenges and opportunities in social capital research.” Journal of Management, 37 (2), 491–520.
- Phelps, C., Heidl, R., & Wadhwa, A. (2012): “Knowledge, networks, and knowledge networks: A review and research agenda.” Journal of Management, 38 (4), 1115–1166.
- Provan, K.G., & Kenis, P. (2008): “Modes of network governance: Structure, management, and effectiveness.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18 (2), 229–252.
- Soda, G., Tortoriello, M., & Iorio, A. (2017): “Harvesting value from brokerage: Individual strategic orientation, structural holes, and performance.” Academy of Management Journal, 61 (3), 896–918.