Article | Research in Organizational Behavior | 2011

How Do Networks Matter? The Performance Effects of Interorganizational Networks

by Ranjay Gulati, D. Lavie and Ravi Madhavin

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that an organization's ties to other organizations furnish resources that bestow various benefits. Scholars have proposed different perspectives on how such networks of ties shape organizational behavior and performance outcomes, but they have paid little attention to the underlying mechanisms driving these effects. We propose reach, richness, and receptivity as three fundamental mechanisms that jointly constitute a parsimonious model for explaining how network resources contribute to organizational performance. Reach is the extent to which an organization's network connects it to diverse and distant partners. Richness represents the potential value of the resources available to the organization through its ties to partners. Receptivity denotes the extent to which the organization can access and channel network resources across interorganizational boundaries. Whereas reach specifies how wide-ranging and heterogeneous the organization's network connections are, richness characterizes the value of the combinations of resources furnished by its partners. Receptivity in turn portrays how organizational capabilities and the quality of ties to partners facilitate flows of network resources. We propose that the interplay of these three mechanisms determines the benefits that the organization obtains from its network: reach and richness jointly determine the potential value of the network, while receptivity is crucial in realizing that potential.

Keywords: Management Systems; Organizational Design; Performance; Performance Effectiveness; Networks; Partners and Partnerships; Research; Perspective; Value;

Citation:

Gulati, Ranjay, D. Lavie, and Ravi Madhavin. "How Do Networks Matter? The Performance Effects of Interorganizational Networks." Research in Organizational Behavior 31 (2011): 207–224.