People centrally located within networks enjoy a variety of benefits. Why some people achieve such advantage while others do not is not well understood. Using a novel dataset that maps the workflow network among software engineers at a Fortune 500 technology company, I trace the evolution of the position of 804 new entrants to the firm over a period of three years. Findings paint a consistent picture as to the determinants of position in this network: one’s team and one’s job at time of entry, rather than intellectual or social endowment, play the strongest roles in determining one’s subsequent centrality and autonomy.
I gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Heather Haveman, AnnaLee Saxenian, and Jim Lincoln on early drafts, as well as the input of Lisa Cohen, Charlotte Alexander, and Craig Tutterow on the more recent version. Also, special thanks to the many people at TechCo who provided access, insight, support, and many a useful comment as well.
Kurkoski, J. (2016), "It’s Not You, It’s Your Job: Network Evolution within Firms", The Structuring of Work in Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 47), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 241-274. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20160000047020
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