Organizational social network research: Core ideas and key debates

Martin Kilduff, Daniel J. Brass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

490 Scopus citations


Given the growing popularity of the social network perspective across diverse organizational subject areas, this review examines the coherence of the research tradition (in terms of leading ideas from which the diversity of new research derives) and appraises current directions and controversies. The leading ideas at the heart of the organizational social network research program include: An emphasis on relations between actors; the embeddedness of exchange in social relations; the assumption that dyadic relationships do not occur in isolation, but rather form a complex structural pattern of connectivity and cleavage beyond the dyad; and the belief that social network connections matter in terms of outcomes to both actors and groups of actors across a range of indicators. These leading ideas are articulated in current debates that center on issues of actor characteristics, agency, cognition, cooperation versus competition, and boundary specification. To complement the review, we provide a glossary of social network terms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-357
Number of pages41
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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