An extensive body of knowledge exists on network outcomes and on how network structures may contribute to the creation of outcomes at different levels of analysis, but less attention has been paid to understanding how and why organizational networks emerge, evolve, and change. Improved understanding of network dynamics is important for several reasons, perhaps the most critical being that the understanding of network outcomes is only partial without an appreciation of the genesis of the network structures that resulted in such outcomes. To provide a context for the papers in this special issue, and with the broader goal of furthering network dynamics research, we present a framework that begins by discussing the meaning and role of network dynamics and goes on to identify the drivers and key dimensions of network change as well as the role of time in this process. We conclude with theoretical and methodological issues that researchers need to address in this domain.
- Economic sociology
- Economics and organization
- Interorganizational relationships
- Organization and management theory
- Social networks