Network Structure, Collaborative Context, and Individual Creativity

Diego Stea, Giuseppe Soda, Torben Pedersen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    552 Downloads (Pure)


    Network research has yet to determine whether bonding ties or bridging ties are more beneficial for individual creativity, but the debate has mostly overlooked the organizational context in which such ties are formed. In particular, the causal chain connecting network structures and individual outcomes often assumes that different network structures embody specific individual behaviors. This paper challenges the widespread assumption that dense, heavily bonded network structures imply a collaborative attitude on the part of network actors. We propose that collaboration can also be contextual and exogenous to a network’s structural characteristics, such that it moderates the effects of both dense and brokered networks on individual creativity. Specifically, we argue that knowledge acquisition and, in turn, individual creativity are more likely when an individual’s network position has a good fit with the network’s organizational context. Thus, actors in dense network structures acquire more knowledge and eventually become more creative in organizational contexts where collaboration is high. Conversely, brokers who arbitrage information across disconnected network contacts acquire more valuable knowledge, and thereby achieve higher creativity, in organizational contexts where collaboration is low.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventy-sixth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
    EditorsJohn Humphreys
    Number of pages5
    Place of PublicationBriar Cliff Manor, NY
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    Publication date2016
    Article number11211
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2016: Making Organizations Meaningful - Anaheim, United States
    Duration: 5 Aug 20169 Aug 2016
    Conference number: 76


    ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address
    SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


    • Individual creativity
    • Knowledge sharing
    • Social networks

    Cite this