The network paradigm in organizational research: A review and typology

Stephen P. Borgatti, Pacey C. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2003 Scopus citations


In this paper, we review and analyze the emerging network paradigm in organizational research. We begin with a conventional review of recent research organized around recognized research streams. Next, we analyze this research, developing a set of dimensions along which network studies vary, including direction of causality, levels of analysis, explanatory goals, and explanatory mechanisms. We use the latter two dimensions to construct a 2-by-2 table cross-classifying studies of network consequences into four canonical types: structural social capital, social access to resources, contagion, and environmental shaping. We note the rise in popularity of studies with a greater sense of agency than was traditional in network research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-1013
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Pacey C. Foster is currently a doctoral candidate in Organization Studies at Boston College. His doctoral research, supported by a Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowship, explores the impact of social networks on negotiations in cultural industries. His other research interests include the development of action learning theories that facilitate positive individual, group, and organizational change.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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