Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1988

Abstract

Within organizations, managers are constantly choosing with whom they will begin, continue or cease to interact (Fischer, 1977; Kaplan, 1984). Organizations have been defined as "fish nets" of interrelated offices, and can be viewed as social groupings with relatively stable patterns of interaction over time (Katz and Kahn, 1978; Weick, 1969). If such a model of organizing is to move beyond this metaphor, coherent frameworks, and accompanying methods of analysis capable of capturing these emergent processes are necessary. The social network perspective was proposed by Tichy, Tushman and Fombrun (1979) and has guided data collection and analysis on emergent network characteristics, Network data can be organized and examined to capture emergent processes at different levels of analysis. Yet, despite the promise of this approach, network analysis represents an under-utilized framework for analyzing and conceptualizing organizations (Pfeffer, 1982; Brass, 1985). This has occurred because the methodological sophistication of network analysis techniques have run ahead of the theoretical and substantive developments that could take advantage of the methods (Knoke and Kuklinski, 1982). This area of research has few conceptual frameworks capable of guiding systematic empirical research on network formation and its consequences. This lack of theory building is particularly acute for network formation at the individual level of analysis. In organizational research, the network concept has most influenced studies of configurations of relations among whole organizations. Lincoln (1982) points out that the inattention to the network properties of individual organizations is unfortunate, for such study may yield rich insights into organizational structures and processes. This paper develops an individual level model of network formation and the relationship of networks to the career mobility of managers.

Comments

Unpublished working paper, 1988