Toward a Theory of Extended Contact: The Incentives and Opportunities for Bridging Across Network Communities

Organization Science, 23 (2012): 1658-1681

43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2011 Last revised: 5 Mar 2013

See all articles by Maxim Sytch

Maxim Sytch

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Adam Tatarynowicz

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business

Ranjay Gulati

Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior

Date Written: September 26, 2011

Abstract

This study investigates the determinants of bridging ties within networks of interconnected firms. Bridging ties are defined as non-redundant connections between firms located in different network communities. We highlight how firms can enter into these relationships due to the incentives and opportunities for action that are embedded in the existing network structure. Specifically, we propose that the dynamics of proximate network structures, which reflect firms' and their partners' direct connections, affect the formation of bridging ties by shaping the value-creation and value-distribution incentives for bridging. We also argue that the evolving global network structure affects firms' propensity to form bridging ties by shaping the structural opportunities for bridging. We test our theory using the network of partnership ties among firms in the global computer industry from 1991 to 2005. We find support for structural incentives and opportunities as influential precursors of bridging ties.

Keywords: Networks, Organization Theory, Economic Sociology, Strategy and Policy

Suggested Citation

Sytch, Maxim and Tatarynowicz, Adam and Gulati, Ranjay, Toward a Theory of Extended Contact: The Incentives and Opportunities for Bridging Across Network Communities (September 26, 2011). Organization Science, 23 (2012): 1658-1681. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1933778

Maxim Sytch

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Adam Tatarynowicz (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business ( email )

50 Stamford Road
Singapore 178899
+65 6828 0028 (Phone)
+65 6828 0777 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tatarynowicz.com

Ranjay Gulati

Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 317
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-8554 (Phone)
617-496-6568 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu

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