How social networks facilitate collective responses to organizational paradoxes

Joshua Keller, Sze Sze Wong, Shyhnan Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


When organizations face paradoxical tensions, such as when they must simultaneously meet scientific and commercial objectives, individuals within the organization also experience tensions. How individuals’ responses to these tensions inform the collective organizational response remains a theoretical and empirical challenge. We address this challenge by introducing a social network perspective. In a two-stage mixed-method study of a research institute in Taiwan, we examined how individuals’ social networks facilitated the organization’s response to a science-commerce paradox. Our results demonstrated that the level of heterogeneity in each individual’s social network influenced how each individual contributed to the organization’s collective response. Specifically, individuals with heterogeneous instrumental networks were more likely to contribute to the organization-wide consensus response, whereas individuals with homogeneous expressive networks were more likely to contribute to a polarized subgroup response. Our findings suggest that individuals’ roles in shaping a collective organizational response to paradoxes depends on who they seek advice from and who they befriend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-428
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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