Network Forms of Organization

Posted: 6 May 1998


Initial sociological interest in network forms was motivated in part by a critique of economic views of organization. Sociologists sought to highlight the prevalence and functionality of organizational forms that could not be classified as markets or hierarchies. As a result of this work, we now know that network forms of organization foster learning, represent a mechanism for the attainment of status or legitimacy, provide a variety of economic benefits, facilitate the management of resource dependencies, and provide considerable autonomy for employees. However, as sociologists move away from critiquing what are now somewhat outdated economic views, they need to balance the exclusive focus on prevalence and functionality with attention to constraint and dysfunctionality. The authors review work that has laid a foundation for this broader focus and suggest analytical concerns that should guide this literature as it moves forward.

JEL Classification: L0

Suggested Citation

Podolny, Joel M. and Page, Karen L., Network Forms of Organization. Available at SSRN:

Joel M. Podolny (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Karen L. Page


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