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.

More Details

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

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