Title: The Power of Simmelian Tie Decomposition in Organizational Analysis
Abstract: In the pursuit of understanding how people behave in organizations, scholars frequently underscore the importance of relationships that employees or stakeholders develop in the organization. Strong positive and reciprocated relationships are seen as providing trust that enables cooperation; they are seen as vehicles for influence and political behavior; and, they are conduits for information flow and innovation throughout the organization. Simmel's work suggests that this reliance on these aspects of strong ties is misplaced. In Simmel's view, it is the triadic context in which the tie happens that makes a difference, not the tie itself. I will discuss a decade's worth of work on Simmelian ties to argue that much of the traditional research on networks in organizations leads to faulty reasoning and conclusions, because the theories do not account for these Simmelian ties.
Biography: David Krackhardt is Professor of Organizations at the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. Prior appointments include faculty positions at Cornell's Graduate School of Management, the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, INSEAD (France) and the Harvard Business School. He received a BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine.
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