Social networks and organizational wrongdoing in context

Palmer, D and Moore, C (2016) Social networks and organizational wrongdoing in context. In: Organizational Wrongdoing: Key Perspectives and New Directions. Cambridge Companions to Management . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 209-234. ISBN 9781107117716


Theory and research on social networks has a long tradition in sociology, social psychology, and anthropology and an increasing presence in organizational studies. In this chapter, we critically review the embryonic but growing body of social network theory and research on misconduct in and by organizations. We structure our review around the three main areas of prior research: the role of social networks in the initiation, evolution, and consequences of wrongdoing. We use Brass, Butterfield, and Skaggs’ (1998) seminal theoretical analysis of the role that social networks play in unethical behavior as the starting point for our review, which reaffirms, extends, and in some cases suggests modifications to their arguments. We tap a range of empirical studies on social networks and organizational misconduct, most importantly a series of investigations by Baker, Faulkner and associates (Baker and Faulkner 1993, 2003, 2004; Faulkner and Cheney 2014; Faulkner et al. 2003) to flesh out our discussion. We conclude that a comprehensive understanding of the role of social networks in wrongdoing in and by organizations hinges on several contextual factors that social network analyses sometimes overlook in the drive to use the patterns of relationships among wrongdoers and their victims as the dominant explanatory device. We end by suggesting several lines of inquiry that social network analysts might explore in connection with organizational wrongdoing in the future.

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Item Type: Book Section
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Subjects: M > Misconduct
P > People (Behavioural science)
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 13:38
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2019 14:40

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