Managerial Networks and Exploration in a Professional Service Firm

44 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2016 Last revised: 10 Jan 2017

See all articles by Michelle Rogan

Michelle Rogan

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School; INSEAD

Louise Mors

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization

Date Written: August 15, 2016

Abstract

A firm's growth and survival depends on the ability of its managers to explore for new business and knowledge; yet, exploration is challenging for most large, established firms. Extending prior research into networks and exploration, we propose that a key characteristic of managers' external networks – the extent to which their networks include relationships built using predominately individual rather than firm resources – is positively related to managers' abilities to explore for new business and knowledge in large firms. We propose that networks with more individual ties provide more diverse knowledge, enable greater autonomy, and ease access to resources from contacts; hence facilitating exploration. Analysis of an original dataset of external networks of 77 senior managers in a large global consulting firm provides support for our arguments. We find that individual ties are positively related to exploration and furthermore, that the positive (negative) relationship between sparse (dense) networks and exploration increases with the number of individual ties in managers' networks.

Keywords: Exploration, innovation, firm performance, networks, network content, network structure, new business development, new knowledge development, professional service firms, consulting firms, corporate entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Rogan, Michelle and Mors, Marie Louise, Managerial Networks and Exploration in a Professional Service Firm (August 15, 2016). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2016/87/EFE. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2873511 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2873511

Michelle Rogan

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Marie Louise Mors (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

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