Sub-theme 07: [SWG] Organizational Network Dynamics and Churn
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University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Leon A.G. Oerlemans
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Bocconi University Milan, Italy
Call for Papers
The explicit inclusion of time and time related processes in organization and management research is a neglected area of
study (Langley et al., 2013). This neglect extends to the literature on organizational networks, as witnessed by repeated
calls for studies accounting for network change (e.g., Knoben et al., 2006; Phelps et al., 2012). In partial response to these
calls, a timely special issue in Organization Studies (vol. 37, issue 3, March 2016) has attended to “The Transformative
and Innovative Power of Network Dynamics”. In this sub-theme, we seek to enrich this nascent stream of research on organizational
network dynamics and churn that should benefit greatly from improved access to longitudinal network data and new methods for
dynamic network analysis (e.g., Conaldi et al., 2012; van den Bunt & Groenewegen, 2007).
network dynamics and churn concern the regularities by which networks change and evolve, as ties are created, modified, and
dissolved over time. In alignment with the overall topic of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 07 on “Organization(al)
Networks: Between Structure and Process”, this change comprises structural, network-endogenous regularities as well as agentic
change. The structural perspective assumes that regularities for network change result from the network itself determining
its future state, for instance, as prior network ties influence the emergence of future ties (Uzzi & Spiro, 2005). This
perspective on network dynamics can be linked to theories of path dependence (Sydow et al., 2009), network self-organization
(Robins et al., 2005), and inertia (Kim et al., 2006). The process perspective, by contrast, focuses on organizational actors
purposefully choosing and orchestrating their network ties (Emirbayer & Mische, 1998), relying on instrumental networking
(Brennecke, 2019; Casciaro et al., 2014). For instance, they may try to bridge structural holes (Zaheer & Soda, 2009)
or strengthen or weaken their ties (Mariotti & Delbridge, 2012). Network dynamics are further influenced by exogenous
events, such as technological developments (Fleming et al., 2007), performance feedback (Parker et al., 2016), or task requirements
(Perry-Smith & Mannucci, 2017).
Short paper submissions to enrich the nascent research on network dynamics
and churn can refer – but are not limited – to the following areas:
Interactions between structure and agency
for network dynamics
Drivers and outcomes of network churn processes
Co-evolution of networks
and organizational attributes, such as innovation
The role of individuals’ characteristics (e.g., cognitive
capabilities, personality, skill sets, and behavior) for tie formation and dissolution
and differences between regularities that drive network change
- Brennecke, J. (2019): “Dissonant Ties in Intraorganizational Networks: Why Individuals Seek Problem-Solving
Assistance from Difficult Colleagues.” Academy of Management Journal, in press; https://journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/amj.2017.0399
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.
- Conaldi, G., Lomi, A., & Tonellato,
M. (2012): “Dynamic models of affiliation and the network structure of problem solving in an open source software project.”
Organizational Research Methods, 15 (3), 385–412.
- Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998): “What is Agency?”
American Journal of Sociology, 103 (4), 962–1023.
- Fleming, L., King III, C., & Juda, A.I. (2007): “Small
worlds and regional innovation.” Organization Science, 18 (6), 938–954.
- Kim, T.-Y., Oh, H., & Swaminathan,
A. (2006): “Framing interorganizational network change: A network inertia perspective.” Academy of Management Review,
31 (3), 704–720.
- Knoben, J., Oerlemans, L.A.G., & Rutten, R. (2006): “Radical changes in inter-organizational
network structures: The longitudinal gap.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 73 (4), 390–404.
A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A.H. (2013): “Process studies of change in organization and management: Unveiling
temporality, activity, and flow.” Academy of Management Journal, 56 (1), 1–13.
- Mariotti, F., & Delbridge,
R. (2012): “Overcoming network overload and redundancy in interorganizational networks: The roles of potential and latent
ties.” Organization Science, 23 (2), 511–528.
- Parker, A., Halgin, D.S., & Borgatti, S.P. (2016): “Dynamics
of social capital: Effects of performance feedback on network change.” Organization Studies, 37 (3), 375–397.
J.E., & Mannucci, P.V. (2017): “From creativity to innovation: The social network drivers of the four phases of the idea
journey.” Academy of Management Review, 42 (1), 53–79.
- Phelps, C., Heidl, R., & Wadhwa, A. (2012): “Knowledge,
networks, and knowledge networks: A review and research agenda.” Journal of Management, 38 (4), 1115–1166.
G.L., Pattison, P.E., & Woolcock, J. (2005): “Small and other worlds: Global network structures from local processes.”
American Journal of Sociology, 110 (4), 894–936.
- Sydow, J., Schreyögg, G., & Koch, J. (2009): „Organizational
path dependence: Opening the black box.” Academy of Management Review, 34 (4), 689–709.
- Uzzi, B., Spiro,
J. (2005): “Collaboration and creativity: The small world problem.” American Journal of Sociology, 111 (2), 447–504.
de Bunt, G.G., & Groenewegen, P. (2007): “An actor-oriented dynamic network approach: The case of interorganizational
network evolution.” Organizational Research Methods, 10 (3), 463–482.
- Zaheer, A., Soda, G. (2009): “Network
evolution: The origins of structural holes.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 54 (1), 1–31.
Julia Brennecke is Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Knowledge Management at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. Her research focuses
on networks in knowledge-intensive settings, with the aim of creating a better understanding of how and why network ties form,
and exposing the consequences of network connections for innovation. Her work has been published in journals such as ‘Academy
of Management Journal’, ‘Research Policy’, and ‘Human Resource Management’, among others.
Leon A.G. Oerlemans is Professor in Organizational Dynamics at the Department of Organization Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands. His
research focuses on inter-organizational relationships and networks, and temporary inter-organizational project networks.
Leon has published his studies in, for example, ‘Organization Science’, ‘Organization Studies’, and ‘Journal of Management’.
Marco Tortoriello is Professor of Strategy and Organizations in the Department of Management and Technology at Bocconi University Milan, Italy.
Marco’s research focuses on mechanisms and returns to social capital as applied to knowledge-intensive industries and organizations.
His work has been published in journals such as ‘Academy of Management Journal’, ‘Organization Science’, and ‘Strategic Management
Journal’, among others.
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