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Structural Logic of Intraorganizational Networks


  • Olaf N. Rank

    () (Georg August University Goettingen, 37073 Goettingen, Germany)

  • Garry L. Robins

    () (School of Behavioural Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia)

  • Philippa E. Pattison

    () (School of Behavioural Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia)


In this study we examine the structural logic underlying complex intraorganizational networks. Drawing on different propositions about structural regularities in networks and using a comparative case study, we empirically investigate the structural logic of collaborative networks for the strategic decision process in two German corporations. In both organizations, data were gathered on cooperative relationships between all managers belonging to the top two management levels. We model structural regularities at the dyadic and the extradyadic level by applying a class of multivariate exponential random graph models. Our findings contribute to the existing literature in three ways: (1) Although networks are particularly likely to exhibit some types of structural regularities (e.g., reciprocity and transitivity), there are other relational forms such as cycles that seem to be of limited relevance. (2) Structural regularities are not limited to a single type of relation but may comprise instrumental and affective relational ties simultaneously. (3) An organization's formal cooperation structure has surprisingly limited influence on the structural patterns of cooperation, whereas friendship ties are embedded in managers' regular interaction patterns in many different ways.

Suggested Citation

  • Olaf N. Rank & Garry L. Robins & Philippa E. Pattison, 2010. "Structural Logic of Intraorganizational Networks," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(3), pages 745-764, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:21:y:2010:i:3:p:745-764
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1090.0450

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Brennecke & Irena Schierjott & Olaf Rank, 2016. "Informal Managerial Networks and Formal Firm Alliances," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 17(1), pages 103-125, April.
    2. Martina Pieperhoff, 2018. "Reziprozität in interorganisationalen Austauschbeziehungen - eine Typologisierung," ZfKE – Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 66(4), pages 273-287.
    3. Alessandro Lomi & Dean Lusher & Philippa E. Pattison & Garry Robins, 2014. "The Focused Organization of Advice Relations: A Study in Boundary Crossing," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 438-457, April.
    4. Pierre Barbillon & Sophie Donnet & Emmanuel Lazega & Avner Bar-Hen, 2017. "Stochastic block models for multiplex networks: an application to a multilevel network of researchers," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 180(1), pages 295-314, January.
    5. Filiposka, Sonja & Gajduk, Andrej & Dimitrova, Tamara & Kocarev, Ljupco, 2017. "Bridging online and offline social networks: Multiplex analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 471(C), pages 825-836.
    6. Brennecke, Julia & Rank, Olaf, 2017. "The firm’s knowledge network and the transfer of advice among corporate inventors—A multilevel network study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 768-783.
    7. Ashish Arora & Michelle Gittelman & Sarah Kaplan & John Lynch & Will Mitchell & Nicolaj Siggelkow & Ji Youn (Rose) Kim & Michael Howard & Emily Cox Pahnke & Warren Boeker, 2016. "Understanding network formation in strategy research: Exponential random graph models," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 22-44, January.
    8. Manuel E. Sosa & Martin Gargiulo & Craig Rowles, 2015. "Can Informal Communication Networks Disrupt Coordination in New Product Development Projects?," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 1059-1078, August.
    9. Christian Resch, 2017. "Networks in Assembly: Investigating Social Factors in Robotic Automation," IET Working Papers Series 01/2017, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, IET/CICS.NOVA-Interdisciplinary Centre on Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology.

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