Strategy implementation is difficult, particularly as it often requires changes in formal organization structures. Prior research has shown that change in the formal structure may affect employee networks. Yet, we know relatively little about how such changes affect different network ties. This paper considers how formal structural change affects senior managers’ ability to maintain their intraorganizational networks. The hypotheses are tested on sample of 884 work-related relationships of 96 partners in a global professional services firm. This firm had recently implemented a new strategy, which led to a change in the product-market focus and the resulting formal structure. Our findings reveal that the characteristics of a specific network tie determine whether it is affected by formal structural change. In particular, we find that network ties that are highly embedded in the social structure are more likely to be affected by change in the formal structure. In contrast, ties that are relationally embedded are less likely to be affected by change in the formal structure. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results. In particular, the findings may have consequences for the success of strategy implementation and strategic transformation efforts.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 19. February 2018
- Organizational change
- Strategy implementation
- Strategic transformation
- Intraorganizational relationships
- Formal structure
- Professional networks