Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Power of the Weak

The power of the weak Research in the Sociology of Organizations Vol. 40, special volume on Contemporary Perspectives on Organizational Social Network Analysis, S. Borgatti, D. Brass, D. Halgin, G. Labianca and A. Mehra (Eds), Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. (2014) 179-198

This article provides an overview of the two routes through which weaker organizational actors can engage in agency efforts to overcome the potentially detrimental consequences of their weakness: securing the control of valuable resources and embedding dependence into social networks. We then explore the unintended consequences of successful agency efforts on the subsequent ability of these weak actors to gain influence in the organization. We argue that, because the network structures that can confer power to the weak are inherently more stable, they can very well persist beyond the point of being beneficial for the weaker players, trapping them into situations that can be detrimental for their ability to further their careers and influence in the organization.