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Social Network Analysis in Organizations  

Jessica R. Methot, Nazifa Zaman, and Hanbo Shim

A social network is a set of actors—that is, any discrete entity in a network, such as a person, team, organization, place, or collective social unit—and the ties connecting them—that is, some type of relationship, exchange, or interaction between actors that serves as a conduit through which resources such as information, trust, goodwill, advice, and support flow. Social network analysis (SNA) is the use of graph-theoretic and matrix algebraic techniques to study the social structure, interactions, and strategic positions of actors in social networks. As a methodological tool, SNA allows scholars to visualize and analyze webs of ties to pinpoint the composition, content, and structure of organizational networks, as well as to identify their origins and dynamics, and then link these features to actors’ attitudes and behaviors. Social network analysis is a valuable and unique lens for management research; there has been a marked shift toward the use of social network analysis to understand a host of organizational phenomena. To this end, organizational network analysis (ONA) is centered on how employees, groups, and organizations are connected and how these connections provide a quantifiable return on human capital investments. Although criticisms have traditionally been leveled against social network analysis, the foundations of network science have a rich history, and ONA has evolved into a well-established paradigm and a modern-day trend in management research and practice.


Social Networks and Employee Creativity  

Gamze Koseoglu and Christina E. Shalley

In the field of management, employee creativity, which is defined as the production of novel and useful ideas concerning products, processes, and services, has been found to be necessary for organizational success and survival. An employee’s relationships with others in the organization affect creativity because employees work in the presence of, and with, their coworkers. A social network approach has been taken to understand how employee relationships can affect creativity. Social networks examine the interaction of individuals with those around them, such as asking them for help or advice. Four components of social networks that have a role in employee creativity have received attention: the nature of the employee’s relationships with coworkers, the structure of the employee’s social network, the position of the employee in the organizational network, and the employee’s network heterogeneity. Regarding the nature of relationships, while some researchers have found that weaker ties are more beneficial for employee creativity, other researchers have found that stronger ties are more advantageous. In order to resolve this conflict, researchers examined the role of strong versus weak ties at different stages of the creativity process and found that, while weak ties might be more useful during idea generation, strong ties come into play during idea elaboration. There are also conflicting findings on the role of the structure of social network. Specifically, a group of researchers found support for a positive relationship between sparse networks and employee creativity, and another group found a positive relationship between dense networks and creativity. Some researchers aimed to resolve this debate, and their findings mirrored the findings on tie strength. They found that density affects different stages of the creative process in unique ways, and while sparse networks are more beneficial during idea generation, dense networks become more important during idea implementation. Compared to the previous two components, the role of network position and network heterogeneity has received less attention from researchers. Researchers found that both central and peripheral positions have certain benefits and costs for creativity. For example, on the one hand, employees located at the periphery of an organization can collect nonredundant information from outside of the organization that has not been shared by others in the organization and has a positive influence on creativity. On the other hand, employees at a central location gain benefits from fast and easy access to information based on many contracts and receiving recognition from many others, thereby improving creativity. Finally, researchers consistently found that different types of network heterogeneity, such as the diversity of one’s contacts in terms of functional background, organizational function, or nationality, positively affects employee creativity. There are many opportunities for future research on the relationship between social networks and creativity, such as examining the role of motivational and cognitive processes as mediational mechanisms, focusing on the role of alter characteristics, studying social networks in a team setting, and taking a temporal approach to understand how changes in social networks over time affect employee creativity.


Strategic Empowerment in Human Resource Management  

M. Taner Albayrak and Alper Ertürk

Empowerment is considered one of the best managerial approaches to foster employees’ effectiveness, creativity, commitment, performance, and other positive work-related attitudes and behaviors while providing an essential tool for leadership development and succession planning. Empowerment involves delegation of authority, sharing of information and resources, and allowing employees to participate in decision-making processes. Empowerment practices result in positive outcomes through psychological empowerment, which comprises meaning, impact, self-determination, and competence. However, empowerment should be exercised with care, and before doing so, leaders should understand their employees’ competences, willingness, and characteristics, as well as the organizational culture and industrial dynamics. With the increasing use of information and communication technologies, inevitable influence of globalization, and continuously changing dynamics of interconnectedness among industries, the business environment has become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). In order to survive in this environment, companies try to increase diversity in their workforce to make the best use of a broad variety of skills, experiences, and opinions, thus boosting creativity and innovativeness, which makes leadership more difficult than ever. With empowerment, the concept of delegation of power is important. Therefore, comparing the concept of personal empowerment with managerial empowerment helps in understanding that these concepts are different, although interconnected. Delegation of authority ensures that the manager transfers decision-making authority to subordinates under certain conditions. In delegation, authority is retained by the manager, who has the ultimate responsibility. On the other hand, in empowerment, authority is fully transferred to the person who is already doing the job, with all the rights and responsibilities to take the initiative as necessary. Empowerment is also closely related but different from the concept of motivation. In motivation, decision-making authority and control stays with the manager. Empowerment, on the other hand, gives employees the opportunity to participate in management, solve problems, and participate in decision-making processes. In this context, the concepts of delegation of authority, motivation, participation in management, and job enrichment are the domain dimensions of personal empowerment, and thus they are interrelated, yet different. It is important to create a common vision and to have common values in order to establish the empowerment process. Subordinates and supervisors need to trust each other, and empowerment needs to be seen as a philosophy, not a technique. It is necessary to create business conditions that enable the development of knowledge and skills in personnel empowerment. These conditions affect the perceptions and attitudes of the staff, such as, support, loyalty, identification, and trust. Empowering employees promotes organizational commitment, increases engagement, and reduces turnover intentions of key personnel. Because empowerment involves encouraging participation of subordinates in the decision-making process, it also helps to enhance the effectiveness of the decisions and reduce decision-making time. In the VUCA world, limited decision making could be a critical obstacle to establish and maintain sustainability in highly competitive business environments.


The Kaleidoscope Career Model  

Sherry E. Sullivan and Shawn M. Carraher

The kaleidoscope career model (KCM) was developed by Mainiero and Sullivan in 2006 based on data from interviews, focus groups, and three surveys of over 3,000 professionals working in the United States. The metaphor of a kaleidoscope was used to describe how an individual’s career alters in response to alternating needs for authenticity, balance, and challenge within a changing internal and external life context. As a kaleidoscope produces changing patterns when its tube is rotated and its glass chips fall into new arrangements, the KCM describes how individuals change the pattern of their careers by rotating the varied aspects of their lives to arrange their work–nonwork roles and relationships in new ways. Individuals examine the choices and options available to create the best fit among various work demands, constraints, and opportunities given their personal values and interests. The ABCs of the KCM are authenticity, balance, and challenge. Authenticity is an individual’s need to make choices that reflect their true self. People seek alignment between their values and their behaviors. Balance is an individual’s need to achieve an equilibrium between the work and nonwork aspects of life. Nonwork life aspects are defined broadly to include not only spouse/partners and children but also parents, siblings, elderly relatives, friends, the community, personal interests, and hobbies. Challenge is an individual’s need for stimulating work that is high in responsibility, control, and/or autonomy. Challenge includes career advancement, often measured as intrinsic or extrinsic success. All three parameters are always active throughout the life span, and all influence decision-making. One parameter, however, usually takes priority; this parameter has greater influence in shaping an individual’s career decisions or transitions at that point in time. Over an individual’s life, the three parameters shift, with one parameter moving to the foreground and intensifying in strength as it takes priority at that time. The other two parameters will lessen in intensity, receding into the background, but they remain active.


The Personality Underpinnings of Strategic Leadership: The CEO, TMT, and Board of Directors  

Bret Bradley, Sam Matthews, and Thomas Kelemen

“Strategic leadership” is the umbrella term used to describe the study of an organization’s top leaders—what they do, their interactions, and how they influence important organizational outcomes. The three major areas of focus within this field are the chief executive officer (CEO), the top management team (TMT), and the board of directors. Although each area has vibrant bodies of literature on important topics of inquiry, the integration of research findings, frameworks, and insights across the three areas remains underdeveloped. For example, the study of leader personality is a rich line of inquiry within the broader management literature, and all three areas are developing, albeit at different rates and with little integration across the three areas. The work on CEO personality is the most developed, and the work on board personality is the least developed. CEOs personality traits that have been studied include the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, and emotional stability), locus of control, core self-evaluations, narcissism, overconfidence, hubris, humility and regulatory focus (a person’s general approach to goals as either promotion focused or prevention focused). TMT personality traits that have been studied include the Big Five, trait positive affect, propensity to innovate, and competitive aggressiveness. Finally, board of directors’ personality traits that have been studied include only personality diversity.


Work Design in the Contemporary Era  

Caroline Knight, Sabreen Kaur, and Sharon K. Parker

Work design refers to the roles, responsibilities, and work tasks that comprise an individual’s job and how they are structured and organized. Good work design is created by jobs high in characteristics such as autonomy, social support, and feedback, and moderate in job demands such as workload, role ambiguity, and role conflict. Established research shows good work design is associated with work outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, work safety, and job performance. Poor work design is characterized by roles that are low in job resources and/or overly high in job demands, and has been linked to poor health and well-being, absenteeism, and poor performance. Work design in the 20th century was characterized by traditional theories focusing on work motivation, well-being, and performance. Motivational and stress theories of work design were later integrated, and work characteristics were expanded to include a whole variety of task, knowledge, social, and work-context characteristics as well as demands, better reflecting contemporary jobs. In the early 21st century, relational theories flourished, focusing on the social and prosocial aspects of work. The role of work design on learning and cognition was also recognized, with benefits for creativity and performance. Work design is affected by many factors, including individual traits, organizational factors, national factors, and global factors. Managers may impact employees’ work design “top-down” by changing policies and procedures, while individuals may change their own work design “bottom-up” through “job crafting.” In the contemporary era, technology and societal factors play an important role in how work is changing. Information and communication technology has enabled remote working and collaboration across time and space, with positive implications for efficiency and flexibility, but potentially also increasing close monitoring and isolation. Automation has led to daily interaction with technologies like robots, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, which can influence autonomy, job complexity, social interaction, and job demands in different ways, ultimately impacting how motivating jobs are. Given the rapidly changing nature of work, it is critical that managers and organizations adopt a human-centered approach to designing work, with managers sensitive to the positive and negative implications of contemporary work on employees’ work design, well-being, and performance. Further research is needed to understand the multitude of multilevel factors influencing work design, how work can be redesigned to optimize technology and worker motivation, and the shorter- and longer-term processes linking work design to under-researched outcomes like identity, cognition, and learning. Overall, the aim is to create high-quality contemporary work in which all individuals can thrive.


Work-Family Conflict and Work-Life Conflict  

Ellen Ernst Kossek and Kyung-Hee Lee

Work-family and work-life conflict are forms of inter-role conflict that occur when the energy, time, or behavioral demands of the work role conflicts with family or personal life roles. Work-family conflict is a specific form of work-life conflict. Work-family conflict is of growing importance in society as it has important consequences for work, non-work, and personal outcomes such as productivity, turnover, family well-being, health, and stress. Work-family conflict relates to critical employment, family, and personal life outcomes. These include work outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover), family outcomes (e.g., marital satisfaction and family satisfaction), and personal outcomes related to physical health (e.g., physical symptoms, eating and exercise behaviors), and psychological health (e.g., stress and depressive symptoms, life satisfaction). Many different theoretical perspectives are used to understand work-life conflict: starting with role theory, and more recently conservation of resources, job demands and resources, and life course theories. Many methodological challenges are holding back the advancement of work-family conflict research. These include (1) construct overlap between work-family conflict and work-life conflict, and work-life balance measures; (2) measurement issues related to directionality and operationalization; and (3) a lack of longitudinal and multilevel studies. Future research should include studies to (1) advance construct development on linkages between different forms of work-family and work-life conflict; (2) improve methodological modeling to better delineate work-family conflict mechanisms; (3) foster increased variation in samples; (4) develop resiliency interventions that fit specific occupational contextual demands; (5) increase integration and sophistication of theoretical approaches; and (6) update work-family studies to take into account the influence of the growing prevalence of technology that is transforming work-family relationships.