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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2017

Christine Moser, Peter Groenewegen and Julie E. Ferguson

In this essay, we argue that understanding of meaning in relation to organizational networks warrants a more prominent place in organizational theorizing, because it…

Abstract

In this essay, we argue that understanding of meaning in relation to organizational networks warrants a more prominent place in organizational theorizing, because it fulfils a distinct role in the emergence and evolution of networks. Whereas prior studies have tended to address network structures or narrative structures, we suggest that organizational processes might be better understood when addressing the role of meaning and network structures simultaneously. We explain the implications of our argument in an online context, given the growing significance of digitally enabled networks on organizational sociality, and draw on examples in the context of organizational knowledge sharing to support our argument. We conclude by introducing a communication flow model to support the further development of research on organizational meaning networks.

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Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2017

Nikita Basov and Julia Brennecke

The social and cultural duality perspective suggests dual ordering of interpersonal ties and cultural similarities. Studies to date primarily focus on cultural…

Abstract

The social and cultural duality perspective suggests dual ordering of interpersonal ties and cultural similarities. Studies to date primarily focus on cultural similarities in interpersonal dyads driven by principles such as homophily and contagion. We aim to extend these principles for sociocultural networks and investigate potentially competing micro-principles that generate these networks, taking into account not only direct dyadic overlap between interpersonal ties and cultural structures, but also the indirect interplay between the social and the cultural.

The empirical analysis utilizes social and semantic network data gathered through ethnographic studies of five creative organizations around Europe. We apply exponential random graph models (ERGMs) for multiplex networks to model the simultaneous operation of several generative principles of sociocultural structuring yielding multiplex dyads and triads that combine interpersonal ties with meaning sharing links.

The results suggest that in addition to the direct overlap of shared meanings and interpersonal ties, sociocultural structure formation is also affected by extra-dyadic links. Namely, expressive interpersonal ties with common third persons condition meaning sharing between individuals, while meaning sharing with common alters leads to interpersonal collaborations. Beyond dyads, the dual ordering of the social and the cultural thus operates as asymmetrical with regard to different types of interpersonal ties.

The paper shows that in addition to direct dyadic overlap, network ties with third parties play an important role for the co-constitution of the social and the cultural. Moreover, we highlight that the concept of network multiplexity can be extended beyond social networks to investigate competing micro-principles guiding the interplay of social and cultural structures.

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Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2017

Achim Oberg, Valeska P. Korff and Walter W. Powell

Organizational fields are shaped by both the relations that organizations forge and the language they express. The structure and discourse of organizational fields have…

Abstract

Organizational fields are shaped by both the relations that organizations forge and the language they express. The structure and discourse of organizational fields have been studied before, but seldom in combination. We offer a methodological approach that integrates relations and expressions into a comprehensive visualization.

By mapping networks and discourse as co-constitutive, the method illuminates the mechanisms active in organizational fields. We utilize social impact evaluation as an issue field shaped by the presence of an interstitial community, and compare this structure with simulated alternative field configurations.

The simulations reveal that variation in organizations’ openness to adopting concepts from adjacent meaning systems alters field configurations: differentiation manifests under conditions of low overall openness, whereas moderate receptivity produces hybridizations of discourses and sometimes the emergence of an interstitial community that bridges domains. If certain organizations are open while others remain focused on their original discourse, then we observe integration in the discursive domain of the invariant organizations.

The observations from the simulations are represented by visualizing organizational fields as topographies of meaning, onto which interorganizational relations are layered. This representation localizes organizations and their interactions in a cultural space while emphasizing how meanings of relationships and organizational expressions vary with different field configurations. By adding meaning to network data, the resulting maps open new perspectives for institutional research on the adaptation, translation, and diffusion of concepts.

Details

Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2017

Abstract

Details

Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

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Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Timothy R. Hannigan and Guillermo Casasnovas

Field emergence poses an intriguing problem for institutional theorists. New issue fields often arise at the intersection of different sectors, amidst extant structures of…

Abstract

Field emergence poses an intriguing problem for institutional theorists. New issue fields often arise at the intersection of different sectors, amidst extant structures of meanings and actors. Such nascent fields are fragmented and lack clear guides for action; making it unclear how they ever coalesce. The authors propose that provisional social structures provide actors with macrosocial presuppositions that shape ongoing field-configuration; bootstrapping the field. The authors explore this empirically in the context of social impact investing in the UK, 2000–2013, a period in which this field moved from clear fragmentation to relative alignment. The authors combine different computational text analysis methods, and data from an extensive field-level study, to uncover meaningful patterns of interaction and structuration. Our results show that across various periods, different types of actors were linked together in discourse through “actor–meaning couplets.” These emergent couplings of actors and meanings provided actors with social cues, or macrofoundations, which guided their local activities. The authors thus theorize a recursive, co-constitutive process: as punctuated moments of interaction generate provisional structures of actor–meaning couplets, which then cue actors as they navigate and constitute the emerging field. Our model re-energizes the core tenets of new structuralism and contributes to current debates about institutional emergence and change.

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Macrofoundations: Exploring the Institutionally Situated Nature of Activity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-160-5

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2017

Alessandro Lomi, Stefano Tasselli and Paola Zappa

We study organizational vocabularies as complex social structures emerging from the association between organizational participants and words they use to describe and make…

Abstract

We study organizational vocabularies as complex social structures emerging from the association between organizational participants and words they use to describe and make sense of their experiences at work. Using data that we have collected on the association between managers in a multi-unit international company and words they use to describe their organizational units and the overall company, we examine the relational micro-mechanisms underlying the observed network structure of organizational vocabularies. We find that members of the same subsidiary tend to become more similar in terms of the words they use to describe their units. Members of the same subsidiary, however, do not use the same words to describe the corporate group. Consequently, the structure of organizational vocabularies tends to support consistent local interpretations, but reveals the presence of divergent meanings that organizational participants associate with the superordinate corporate group.

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Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Robert Lee and Oswald Jones

While there is a large volume of entrepreneurial social capital research, the philosophical assumptions have received limited attention. The purpose of this paper is to…

Abstract

Purpose

While there is a large volume of entrepreneurial social capital research, the philosophical assumptions have received limited attention. The purpose of this paper is to review and classify entrepreneurial social capital studies according to the following approaches – objectivist (positivist-realist, structuralist) and subjectivist (social constructionist). There is a neglect of structure and agency, and the authors encourage a critical realist approach that permits an understanding of observable network structure, constraint-order and human agency as a dynamic system.

Design/methodology/approach

The ontological and epistemological assumptions, and associated strengths and weaknesses of objectivist (positivist-realist, structuralist) and subjectivist (social constructionist) entrepreneurial social capital studies are discussed. The case for a more progressive critical realist approach is developed.

Findings

The authors demonstrate that objectivist (positivist-realist, structuralist) research with findings bereft of situated meaning and agency dominates. The emergence of subjectivist research – narratively examining different network situations from the perspective of those embedded in networks – is an emerging and competing approach. This dualism is unlikely to comprehensively understand the complex system-level properties of social capital. Future research should adopt critical realism and fuse: objective data to demonstrate the material aspects of network structures and what structural social capital exists in particular settings; and subjective data that enhances an understanding of situated meaning, agency and intention in a network.

Originality/value

This paper contributes a review of entrepreneurial social capital research and philosophical foundations. The development of a critical realist approach to understanding social capital gestation permits a system-level analysis of network structure influencing conduct, and agency.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Kieran D. Tierney, Ingo O. Karpen and Kate Westberg

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate and advance the understanding of brand meaning and the evolving process by which it is determined by introducing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate and advance the understanding of brand meaning and the evolving process by which it is determined by introducing and explicating the concept of brand meaning cocreation (BMCC).

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth review and integration of literature from branding, cocreation, service systems, and practice theory. To support deep theorizing, the authors also examine the role of institutional logics in the BMCC process in framing interactions and brand meaning outcomes.

Findings

Prior research is limited in that it neither maps the process of cocreation within which meanings emerge nor provides theoretical conceptualizations of brand meaning or the process of BMCC. While the literature acknowledges that brand meaning is influenced by multiple interactions, their nature and how they contribute to BMCC have been overlooked.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reveals a significant gap in knowledge of how brand meaning is cocreated, despite the essential role of brand meaning for firm success and increasing academic interest in the notion of cocreation. Ultimately, this paper builds a conceptual foundation for empirical research in this regard.

Originality/value

This paper proposes that brand meaning is cocreated through the interconnection of different social and service systems, across system levels, time, and geographic space. Marketing theory is advanced by outlining a set of research propositions pertaining to the BMCC process. The authors consider how discrete actor-based brand meanings contribute to an overall brand gestalt and how such a gestalt potentially evolves along a continuum. Additionally, the authors provide a managerially and theoretically relevant research agenda to guide much needed empirical research into BMCC.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Book part
Publication date: 24 August 2011

Morten H. Abrahamsen

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in…

Abstract

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in the sense that revisions occur to the research question, method, theory, and context as an integral part of the research process.

Changes within networks receive less research attention, although considerable research exists on explaining business network structures in different research traditions. This study analyzes changes in networks in terms of the industrial network approach. This approach sees networks as connected relationships between actors, where interdependent companies interact based on their sensemaking of their relevant network environment. The study develops a concept of network change as well as an operationalization for comparing perceptions of change, where the study introduces a template model of dottograms to systematically analyze differences in perceptions. The study then applies the model to analyze findings from a case study of Norwegian/Japanese seafood distribution, and the chapter provides a rich description of a complex system facing considerable pressure to change. In-depth personal interviews and cognitive mapping techniques are the main research tools applied, in addition to tracer studies and personal observation.

The dottogram method represents a valuable contribution to case study research as it enables systematic within-case and across-case analyses. A further theoretical contribution of the study is the suggestion that network change is about actors seeking to change their network position to gain access to resources. Thereby, the study also implies a close relationship between the concepts network position and the network change that has not been discussed within the network approach in great detail.

Another major contribution of the study is the analysis of the role that network pictures play in actors' efforts to change their network position. The study develops seven propositions in an attempt to describe the role of network pictures in network change. So far, the relevant literature discusses network pictures mainly as a theoretical concept. Finally, the chapter concludes with important implications for management practice.

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Interfirm Networks: Theory, Strategy, and Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-024-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Georgios I. Zekos

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination…

Abstract

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination of some legal aspects concerning MNEs, cyberspace and e‐commerce as the means of expression of the digital economy. The whole effort of the author is focused on the examination of various aspects of MNEs and their impact upon globalisation and vice versa and how and if we are moving towards a global digital economy.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 45 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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