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Network Structures of Influence within Organizations and Implications for HRM

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-1-80117-431-2, eISBN: 978-1-80117-430-5

Publication date: 19 August 2021


The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) has long recognized the importance of interpersonal influence for employee and organizational effectiveness. HRM research and practice have focused primarily on individuals’ characteristics and behaviors as a means to understand “who” is influential in organizations, with substantially less attention paid to social networks. To reinvigorate a focus on network structures to explain interpersonal influence, the authors present a comprehensive account of how network structures enable and constrain influence within organizations. The authors begin by describing how power and status, two key determinants of individual influence in organizations, operate through different mechanisms, and delineate a range of network positions that yield power, reflect status, and/or capture realized influence. Then, the authors extend initial structural views of influence beyond the positions of individuals to consider how network structures within and between groups – capturing group social capital and/or shared leadership – enable and constrain groups’ ability to influence group members, other groups, and the broader organizational system. The authors also discuss how HRM may leverage these insights to facilitate interpersonal influence in ways that support individual, group, and organizational effectiveness.



Cullen-Lester, K.L., Porter, C.M., Trainer, H.M., Solanelles, P. and Carter, D.R. (2021), "Network Structures of Influence within Organizations and Implications for HRM", Buckley, M.R., Wheeler, A.R., Baur, J.E. and Halbesleben, J.R.B. (Ed.) Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 129-174.



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