Using social networks theory as a complementary perspective to the study of organizational change


BAR - Brazilian Administration Review




This paper contributes to the literature on organizational change by examining organizations as social entities embedded in inter-organizational networks. In contrast with extant research that focuses on macro environmental and internal factors to explain organizational change, we put forth the social network surrounding the firm as a major driver of any change process. Specifically, we examine organizational change as driven by the organizations' positions and relations in an interorganizational network, and advance a set of theory driven propositions on innovation, imitation, inertia, structural equivalence and structural positioning. Our conceptual discussion demonstrates that inter-organizational networks are important in complementing the macro-environment and internal organizational factors for the study of organizational changes. We conclude with a discussion on normative implications for organizations and avenues for future research.

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