Network Theory of Organization: A Multilevel Approach

Tom Moliterno discusses his and co-author Douglas Mahoney’s article, “Network Theory of Organization: A Multilevel Approach”,  published in OnlineFirst in the Journal of Management recently.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Our target audience consists of scholars who take a network theoretic approach in their empirical research on organizations. 

What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic? 

We were mostly motivated by the desire to advance an integrated network theory of organization.  As we describe in the paper, the scholarly literature on organizational networks is large and diverse, but most of that work is single-level in nature (i.e., individual-level networks are associated with individual-level outcomes).  Outside the network literature, it is increasingly common to think of organizations as multilevel systems; in other words to see connections between different organizational levels of analysis. So we wanted to bring this insight into the network literature and describe how networks at different levels of the organization are related.   

How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?

We really hope that network scholars will try to start exploring conceptually and testing empirically the cross-level network connections we describe.  Work in this vein will, hopefully, advance a unified network theory of organization.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?  

Doug and I had been talking about a multilevel network paper for some time:  we both have employed multilevel theory in other papers, and so we wanted to bring that perspective into the network literature.  For me personally, I have been thinking about nested systems of organizational networks since my doctoral program … so I was happy to finally develop these thoughts a bit!

How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?  

It got better!  The feedback we received focused our thinking and pushed us to really unpack our core arguments.

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