Network Dynamics and Organizations: A Review and Research Agenda

Hongzhi Chen*, Ajay Mehra, Stefano Tasselli, Stephen P. Borgatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This paper reviews the growing body of work on network dynamics in organizational research, focusing on a corpus of 187 articles—both “micro” (i.e., interpersonal) and “macro” (i.e., interorganizational)—published between 2007 and 2020. We do not see “network dynamics” as a single construct; rather, it is an umbrella term covering a wide territory. In the first phase of our two-phase review, we present a taxonomy that organizes this territory into three categories: (1) network change (i.e., the emergence, evolution, and transformation of network ties and structures), the occurrence of relational events (i.e., modeling the sequence of discrete actions generated by one actor and directed towards one or more other actors), and (3) coevolution (i.e., the process whereby network and actor attributes influence each other over time). Our review highlights differences between network dynamics based on relational states (e.g., a friendship) and relational events (e.g., an email message), examines the drivers and effects of network dynamics, and in a methodological appendix, clarifies the assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of different analytical approaches for studying network dynamics. In the second phase of our review, we critically reflect on the findings from the first phase and sketch out a rough agenda for future research, organized in terms of four overarching themes: the interplay between the dynamics of social networks conceived as relational states and relational events, mechanisms underlying network dynamics, outcomes of network dynamics, and the role of cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1602-1660
Number of pages59
JournalJournal of Management
Volume48
Issue number6
Early online date24 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022

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