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The Individual Performance Effects of Multiplex Relationships in Workplace Social Networks

Shah, Neha Parikh (2010) The Individual Performance Effects of Multiplex Relationships in Workplace Social Networks. PhD.

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A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Management, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A. Summary: Individuals voluntarily form collegial workplace relationships beyond those required by organizational hierarchy and job workflow. Scholars find individual performance benefits associated with informal instrumental relationships, which involve transfers of work-related information between co-workers. However, people do not always limit their workplace interactions to discussions of work information, but often combine them with exchanges of personal and social information, producing multiplex relationships. Organizational network scholars have overlooked multiplex relationships, due to an assumption that the instrumental component of relationships independently drives performance consequences, while any social component plays an ancillary role. I contend that in multiplex ties, the instrumental and social components inter dependency, rather than independently, affect performance. Thus, I hypothesize that multiplex relationships should produce performance consequences distinct from primarilyinstrumental relationships. The three sections in this dissertation examine this hypothesis empirically and theoretically through a social network perspective. First, I consider how involvement in multiplex and primarily-instrumental dyadic relationships affects performance. In both business school cohorts and financial institution employees, multiplex relationships produced a significant, negative and curvilinear performance effect, while primarilyinstrumental ties produced no significant effects. In the second section, I extend the previous study to a triadic level of analysis. A newly developed measure of multiplex brokerage allows for a comparison of the performance effects of brokerage through multiplex relationships (via relationships to two colleagues who are otherwise unconnected) with the performance effects of brokerage through primarily-instrumental ones. In a financial institution, moderate levels of multiplex brokerage produced the greatest performance advantages, while primarily-instrumental brokerage had no effects. Finally, I theoretically examine the implications of lacking multiplex relationships. Many employees may not have the time or opportunity to develop social relationships with colleagues, limiting involvement in multiplex ties. The model identifies three elements, relational characteristics, trust dimensions, and work contexts, which determine how multiplex ties might influence performance. Overall, while previous research of instrumental networks confounded multiplex and primarily-instrumental relationships, this dissertation finds them to be distinct. These studies suggest that existing understanding of how relationships influence performance needs to include more complex measures that better match the relationships people actually have at work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Workplace Social Networks, Multiplex Relationships
Language: English
Publisher: University of Groningen
Place of Publication: Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Date of graduation: 1 January 2010
Status: Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Workplace Social Networks, Multiplex Relationships
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 10:43
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2020 10:43

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