Resources and Relationships: Social Networks and Mobility in the Workplace

Posted: 13 Sep 1999

Date Written: July 1996


This paper examines how the structure and content of individuals' networks on the job affect intraorganizational mobility. Consistent with prior research, we find that mobility is enhanced by having large, dense networks of informal ties for acquiring information and resources. However, studies of networks and organizational careers have overlooked the importance of informal ties in transmitting social identity and normative expectations within organizations, which is facilitated by networks with the opposite features: smaller size and greater density. We use this argument as the basis for developing a typology of network contents, and we document this interaction between network structure and content in analyses of mobility among employees of a high technology firm. We also show how the effects of tie duration on mobility vary across types of network ties. The implications of these findings for theory and research on networks and organizational mobility are discussed.

JEL Classification: A14, J60

Suggested Citation

Podolny, Joel M. and Baron, James N., Resources and Relationships: Social Networks and Mobility in the Workplace (July 1996). Available at SSRN:

Joel M. Podolny (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

James N. Baron


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