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Hirst, G., D. Van Knippenberg, Y. Zhou, E. Quintane, and C. Zhu. Forthcoming. “Heard it through the grapevine: Indirect networks and employee creativity.” Journal of Applied Psychology.

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Abstract

Social networks can be important sources of information and insights that may spark employee creativity. The cross-fertilization of ideas depends not just on access to information and insights through one’s direct network – the people one actually interacts with – but at least as much on access to the indirect network one’s direct ties connect one to (i.e., people one does not interact with directly, but with whom one’s direct ties interact). We propose that the reach efficiency of this indirect network – its non-redundancy in terms of interconnections – is positively related to individual creativity. To help specify the boundaries of this positive influence of the indirect network, we also explore how many steps removed the indirect network still adds to creativity. In addition, we propose that the efficiency (non-redundancy) of one’s direct network is important here, because more efficient direct networks give one access to indirect networks with greater reach efficiency. Our hypotheses were supported in a multilevel analysis of multisource survey data from 223 sales representatives nested within 11 divisions of a Chinese pharmaceutical company. This analysis also showed that the creative benefits of reach efficiency were evident for three and four degrees of separation but were greatest for indirect ties that depend only on one’s direct ties.

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... For example, the DBOS will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of how social network structure and psychological predispositions toward brokerage action interact. Although social network structure has been shown to associate with a number of organizational outcomes such as employee performance, creativity, and innovation (e.g., Burt, 1992; Hirst, van Knippenberg, Zhou, Quintane, & Zhu, 2015; Rodan, 2010), and some have noted that the inclusion of psychological factors does not add significantly to the variance explained (Burt, 2012), an increasing number of scholars argue that the psychological orientations of individuals are important to examine in the context of social network structure (e.g., Casciaro, Barsade, Edmondson, Gibson, Krackhardt, & Labianca, 2015; Tasselli et al., 2015). Do actors who have an orientation toward tertius gaudens brokerage extract more benefit from inhabiting positions rich in structural holes? ...
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This study deals with individual managerial performance, both overall and in generating innovation. While prior work has demonstrated a relationship between network structure and managerial performance, inadequate attention has been paid to network content. We consider several micro-social processes that might account for differences in managerial performance, taken from economic sociology and studies of managers' exploitation of their social networks and derived from work in psychology on the genesis of ideas. We compare the influence of these mechanisms on managerial performance using a sample of 106 middle managers in a European telecommunications company. Our findings suggest that, while network structure matters, access to heterogeneous knowledge is of equal importance for overall managerial performance and of greater importance for innovation performance. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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The authors propose that a tradeoff between network diversity and communications bandwidth regulates the degree to which social networks deliver non-redundant information to actors in brokerage positions. As the structural diversity of a network increases, the bandwidth of the communication channels in that network decrease, creating countervailing effects on the receipt of novel information. This tradeoff occurs because more diverse networks, presumed to provide more information novelty, typically contain weaker ties across which less novel information flows due to limited interaction. Information advantages to brokerage positions then depend on (a) whether the information overlap among alters is small enough to justify bridging structural holes, (b) whether the size of the topic space known to alters is large enough to consistently provide novelty, and (c) whether the knowledge stock of alters refreshes enough over time to justify updating what was previously known. The authors test these arguments by combining social network and performance data with direct observation of the information content flowing through email at a medium sized executive recruiting firm. They find that brokers with bridging ties to disparate parts of a social network can have disadvantaged access to novel information because their lower bandwidth communication curbs the total volume of novelty they receive. These analyses unpack the mechanisms that enable information advantages in networks and serve as ‘proof-of-concept’ for using email content data to analyze relationships among information flows, networks and social capital.
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Distinctiveness theory posits that patterns of social identity and friendship are based on numeric rarity within specific contexts. In ethnically diverse organizations, the theory predicts that members of the smaller ethnic group (relative to members of the larger ethnic group) will: (a) tend to identify and form friendships within their own ethnic group, and (b) lack access to well-connected individuals in the network of friendship relations. Prior tests have supported these predictions, but they have been unable to rule out the possibility that it was chronic differences in social status and numeric representation in society at large (rather than numeric distinctiveness within specific contexts) that explained the observed patterns of social identity and friendship. In this field-based study, we examined an organization whose social composition effectively controlled for these confounds. We found that members of the smaller ethnic group tended to identify and form friendships within group, as predicted by distinctiveness theory. However, in contrast to previous work, we found that members of the smaller ethnic group were equally well connected to the center of the friendship network as were the members of the larger ethnic group. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Part I. Introduction: Networks, Relations, and Structure: 1. Relations and networks in the social and behavioral sciences 2. Social network data: collection and application Part II. Mathematical Representations of Social Networks: 3. Notation 4. Graphs and matrixes Part III. Structural and Locational Properties: 5. Centrality, prestige, and related actor and group measures 6. Structural balance, clusterability, and transitivity 7. Cohesive subgroups 8. Affiliations, co-memberships, and overlapping subgroups Part IV. Roles and Positions: 9. Structural equivalence 10. Blockmodels 11. Relational algebras 12. Network positions and roles Part V. Dyadic and Triadic Methods: 13. Dyads 14. Triads Part VI. Statistical Dyadic Interaction Models: 15. Statistical analysis of single relational networks 16. Stochastic blockmodels and goodness-of-fit indices Part VII. Epilogue: 17. Future directions.
N 223 employees, 11 divisions
  • Note
Note. N 223 employees, 11 divisions. p.05. p.01.
Introduction to social network methods. Riverside, CA: University of California, Riverside Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach
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Hanneman, R. A., & Riddle, M. (2005). Introduction to social network methods. Riverside, CA: University of California, Riverside. Retrieved from http://faculty.ucr.edu/~hanneman Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.
Acquaintance networks between racial groups: Application of the small world method Assessing the political landscape: Structure, cognition , and power in organizations
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Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software Network ties, reputation, and the financing of new ventures
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Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software
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Selig, J. P., & Preacher, K. J. (2008). Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software]. Available from http://quantpsy.org.
Creativity: It's all in your social network
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Brass, D. J. (1995). Creativity: It's all in your social network. In C. M. Ford & D. A. Gioia (Eds.), Creative action in organizations (pp. 94-99). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
The diversity-bandwidth trade-off
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