Resource title

Informal networks, social control, and third party cooperation

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This paper examines the effect of informal communication between managers on their ability to elicit cooperation from people in their immediate task environment. While informal ties between interdependent actors have been often associated with their propensity to cooperate with one another (Granovetter 1985; McAllister 1995; Uzzi 1996), less attention has been paid to the effects of such informal ties on those actors' ability to elicit cooperation from third parties in their task environment. The topic is particularly relevant for managers, since securing cooperative behavior from other people is a crucial part of their role (Barnard 1938; March and Simon 1958; Mintzberg 1973). In this paper, the author argues that, by enabling managers to take concerted actions towards third parties, informal ties between those managers enhance their ability to elicit cooperative behavior from those parties. Drawing on network theories of social control and influence (Burt 1992; Gargiulo 1993; Lazega and Lebeaux 1995), he identifies social mechanisms behind the effects of informal ties between managers on their ability to promote third-party cooperation and formulate hypotheses that specify observable outcomes of these effects. The author tests these hypotheses using data from project teams within the Italian subsidiary of a multinational high-technology firm.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2001/2001-27.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved