In this paper, we investigate the processes of boundary spanning across subunits within organizational networks. We hypothesize that patterns of advice across organizational subunits are explained by different triadic mechanisms depending on the organizational design of the intra-organizational network. In organizational networks characterized by limited hierarchical differentiation among members and horizontal coordination, we found triadic cyclic closure to be positively associated to boundary spanning across subunits; but when the network reflects an organizational structure with formal hierarchical differentiation among members, then we found triadic transitive closure to be associated to boundary spanning across subunits. We test these predictions in two empirical studies consisting of two organizational networks that differ from each other in organizational design. We adopt a Bayesian approach for exponential random graph models specifically designed for the statistical analysis of interpersonal relationships within and across subgroups or subunits. We suggest that the effects of informal, triadic network configurations on boundary spanning are contingent on formal organizational design.

Organizational social networks, Organizational design, Transitive closure, Triadic cyclic closure, Boundary spanning, ERGMs, Bayesian inference
Social Networks
Department of Technology and Operations Management

Tasselli, S, & Caimo, A. (2019). Does It Take Three to Play Tango? Organizational Design, Triadic Structures and Boundary Spanning across Subunits. Social Networks. Retrieved from