The debate on whether bonding or bridging ties are more beneficial for acquiring knowledge that is conducive to individual creativity has mostly overlooked the context in which such ties are formed. We challenge the widespread assumption that closed, heavily bonded networks imply a collaborative attitude on the part of the embedded actors and propose that the level of collaboration in a network can be independent from that network’s structural characteristics, such that it moderates the effects of closed and brokering network positions on the acquisition of knowledge that supports creativity. Individuals embedded in closed networks acquire more knowledge and become more creative when the level of collaboration in their network is high. Brokers who arbitrage information across disconnected contacts acquire more knowledge and become more creative when collaboration is low. An analysis of employee-level, single-firm data supports these ideas.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 9. August 2017
- Social network
- Ego-network collaboration
- Knowledge acquisition
- Individual creativity