We investigate social circles in intra-firm settings. First, we argue that social circles are inhabited by individuals whose attitudes display fit with the objectives of the social circle rather than more self-centered instrumentalism or calculation. For a test of this hypothesis, we distinguish between friendship circles and strategy-influence circles. We find that friendship circle membership is positively associated with attitudes that display empathic concern but negatively with more instrumental attitudes, whereas strategy-influence circle membership is positively associated with attitudes that display long-term ambition but negatively with attitudes that display short-term calculation. Second, we argue and find that membership of social circles affects individual performance (social circles foster the exchange of information, for which we find clear evidence), albeit not necessarily in a linear fashion. Our new insights into social circle membership and performance implications can guide individuals in seeking access to such social circles and can aid management in understanding and perhaps influencing intra-firm knowledge flows.

intra-firm behavior, social circles
dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.423, hdl.handle.net/1765/12691
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Verbeke, W.J.M.I, & Wuyts, S.H.K. (2007). Moving in social circles - social circle membership and performance implications. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28(4), 357–379. doi:10.1002/job.423