NETWORK STRUCTURES OF INFLUENCE WITHIN ORGANIZATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR HRM
2021 (in press)
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Caitlin Porter, Hayley Trainer, Pol Solanelles, and Dorothy Carter
Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) has long recognized the importance of interpersonal influence processes for employee and organizational effectiveness. HRM research and practice have focused primarily on individuals' characteristics and behaviors as a means to understand ‘who’ is influential in organizations, with substantially less attention paid to the social networks as explanations for interpersonal influence processes. To reinvigorate a focus on network structures to explain interpersonal influence, we present a comprehensive account of how network structures enable and constrain influence within organizations. We begin by describing how power and status, two key determinants of individual influence in organizations, operate through different mechanisms, and we delineate a range of network positions that yield power, reflect status, and/or capture realized influence. Then, we extend initial structural views of influence beyond the positions of individuals to consider how network structures within and between groups – capturing group social capital and/or shared leadership – enable and constrain groups’ ability to influence group members, other groups, and the broader organizational system. We discuss how HRM may leverage these insights to facilitate interpersonal influence processes that support individual, group, and organizational effectiveness.
PREDICTING LEADERSHIP RELATIONSHIPS: THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLECTIVE IDENTITY
Donna Chrobot-Mason, Alexandra Gerbasi, & Kristin Cullen-Lester
The Leadership Quarterly
In many organizations, leadership increasingly looks less like a hierarchy of authority. Instead, it is better understood as a network of influence relationships in which multiple people participate, blurring the distinction between leader and follower and raising the question, how do we predict the existence of these leadership relationships? In this study, we examine identification with one's organization and work team to predict the presence or absence of a leadership relationship. Using Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs) we find that employees who strongly identify with their company and team are more likely to view others as a source of leadership. We also find that employees who strongly identify with the organization are more likely to be viewed by others as a source of leadership. Implications for enhancing the understanding of plural forms of leadership and leadership development are discussed.
NETWORK-BASED LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: A GUIDING FRAMEWORK AND RESOURCES FOR MANAGEMENT EDUCATORS
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Meredith Woehler, and Phil Willburn
Journal of Management Education
Management education and leadership development has traditionally focused on improving human capital (i.e., knowledge, skills, and abilities). Social capital, networks, and networking skills have received less attention. When this content has been incorporated into learning and development experiences, it has often been more ad hoc and has overlooked how gender affects individuals’ ability to build and use networks effectively. To address these limitations, we present a three-step framework designed to guide management educators in helping others to (1) address misconceptions they have about networks and networking, (2) learn whether their current network is effective, and (3) identify networking strategies they can use to change their network and improve its effectiveness. In each stage, we discuss challenges that both men and women face and identify challenges that are particularly salient for women. Beyond providing this framework as a guide for incorporating networks, networking, and social capital into leadership development, we offer resources management educators can use at each step to create positive learning and development experiences. Finally, we discuss specific considerations for implementing network-based leadership development in women’s only and mixed gender courses and leadership development programs.
ENERGY’S ROLE IN THE EXTRAVERSION (DIS)ADVANTAGE: HOW ENERGY TIES AND TASK CONFLICT HELP CLARIFY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EXTRAVERSION AND PROACTIVE PERFORMANCE
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Hannes Leroy, Alexandra Gerbasi and Lisa Nishii
Journal of Organizational Behavior
While academic and practitioner literatures have proposed that extraverts are at an advantage in team‐based work, it remains unclear exactly what that advantage might be, how extraverts attain such an advantage, and under which conditions. Theory highlighting the importance of energy in the coordination of team efforts helps to answer these questions. We propose that extraverted individuals are able to develop more energizing relationships with their teammates and as a result are seen as proactively contributing to their team. However, problems in coordination (i.e., team task conflict) can reverse this extraversion advantage. We studied 27 project‐based teams at their formation, peak performance, and after disbandment. Results suggest that when team task conflict is low, extraverts energize their teammates and are viewed by others as proactively contributing to the team. However, when team task conflict is high, extraverts develop energizing relationships with fewer of their teammates and are not viewed as proactively contributing to the team. Our findings regarding energizing relationships and team task conflict clarify why extraversion is related to proactive performance and in what way, how, and when extraverts may be at a (dis)advantage in team‐based work.
INCORPORATING NETWORKS INTO LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:
A CONCEPTUAL MODEL AND EVALUATION OF RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Cynthia Maupin, and Dorothy Carter
The Leadership Quarterly
Best Paper 2017
Multilevel and relational views of leadership are expanding the focus of leadership development beyond individuals' knowledge, skills, and abilities to include the networked patterns of social relationships linking members of dyads and larger collectives. In this review, we present a conceptual model explaining how three distinct approaches for network-enhancing leadership development can improve the leadership capacity of individuals and collectives. We then present a review of the leadership development literature and the results of a survey of 282 practitioners to assess the extent to which these approaches have been examined in research and implemented in practice. Our review revealed that leadership research and leadership development practice are outpacing leadership development research in terms of incorporating networks. We aim to spur future research by clarifying the targets, objectives, and underlying mechanisms of each network enhancing leadership development approach in our conceptual model. Further, we identify additional literature, not traditionally considered within the realm of leadership development that may help advance empirical examinations of these approaches.
THRIVING IN CENTRAL NETWORK POSITIONS: THE ROLE OF POLITICAL SKILL
Kristin Cullen, Alexandra Gerbasi, and Donna Chrobot-Mason
Journal of Management
Theory suggests that thriving, the feeling of vitality and experience of learning, is in large part determined by the social environment of employees’ workplace. One important aspect of this social environment is the position of an individual in the communication network. Individuals who are sources of communication for many colleagues often receive benefits because other employees depend heavily on these individuals for information; however, there may also be drawbacks to this dependence. In particular, employees who are central in the communication network may experience more role overload and role ambiguity and, in turn, lower levels of workplace thriving. Individual differences are also likely to explain why some individuals are more likely to thrive. Relying on research that views organizations as political arenas, we identify political skill as an individual difference that is likely to enhance workplace thriving. Using a moderated-mediation analysis, we find support for the indirect cost of communication centrality on workplace thriving through role overload and role ambiguity. Furthermore, we identify both direct and moderating effects of political skill. Specifically, political skill mitigates the extent to which employees experience role ambiguity, but not role overload, associated with their position in the communication network, and these effects carry through to affect thriving. Star employees are often central in communication networks; with this in mind, we discuss the implications of our findings for employees and organizations.
THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE NEGATIVE, NEUTRAL, & POSITIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Brian Webster, Bryan Edwards, and Phillip Braddy
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Organizational change research has largely concluded that employees appraise changes in their workplace negatively and thus respond negatively to greater amounts of change. However, whether this conclusion is warranted remains unclear because previous research has examined single workplace changes in isolation or asked employees to make a global assessment of the changing nature of their workplace. Researchers have not had the means to capture the number of changes employees experience or their appraisals of the many different changes occurring in their workplace. In this study, we developed and validated the Quantity of Change Scale (QCS) to provide a more nuanced understanding of employees’ appraisals of their changing workplace. We found that the negative changes employees experience disproportionately influenced their reactions to the changing work environment. However, we also demonstrated that contrary to popular belief, employees appraised fewer changes as negative than as positive or neutral. Together these findings provide new insight into why assessments of employees’ general reactions to workplace change tend to be negative. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our empirical examination of employees’ appraisals of the many changes in their workplace.
FROM NUISANCE TO NOVEL RESEARCH QUESTIONS: USING MULTILEVEL MODELS TO PREDICT HETEROGENEOUS VARIANCES
2020 (in press)
Houston Lester, Kristin Cullen-Lester, Ryan Walters
Organizational Research Methods
Constructs that reflect differences in variability are of interest to many researchers studying workplace phenomena. The aggregation methods typically used to investigate “variability-based” constructs suffer from several limitations, including the inability to include Level 1 predictors and a failure to account for uncertainty in the variability estimates. We demonstrate how mixed-effects location-scale (MELS) and heterogeneous variance models, which are direct extensions of traditional mixed-effects (or multilevel) models, can be used to test mean (location)- and variability (scale)-related hypotheses simultaneously. The aims of this article are to demonstrate (a) how the MELS and heterogeneous variance models can be estimated with both nested cross-sectional and longitudinal data to answer novel research questions about constructs of interest to organizational researchers, (b) how a Bayesian approach allows for the inclusion of random intercepts and slopes when predicting both variability and mean levels, and finally (c) how researchers can use a multilevel approach to predict between-group heterogeneous variances. In doing so, this article highlights the added value of viewing variability as more than a statistical nuisance in organizational research.
FUNCTIONAL LEADERSHIP IN INTERTEAM CONTEXTS: UNDERSTANDING 'WHAT' IN THE CONTEXT OF WHY? WHERE? WHEN? AND WHO?
Dorothy Carter, Kristin Cullen-Lester, Justin Jones, Alexandra Gerbasi, Donna Chrobot-Mason, Eun Young Nae
The Leadership Quarterly
Research on team leadership has primarily focused on leadership processes targeted within teams, in support of team objectives. Yet, teams are open systems that interact with other teams to achieve proximal as well as distal goals. This review clarifies that defining ‘what’ constitutes functionally effective leadership in interteam contexts requires greater precision with regard to where (within teams, across teams) and why (team goals, system goals) leadership processes are enacted, as well as greater consideration of when and among whom leadership processes arise. We begin by synthesizing findings from empirical studies published over the past 30 years that shed light on questions of what, where, why, when, and who related to interteam leadership and end by providing three overarching recommendations for how research should proceed in order to provide a more comprehensive
picture of leadership in interteam contexts.
WHETHER, HOW, AND WHY NETWORKS INFLUENCE MEN'S AND WOMEN'S CAREER SUCCESS: REVIEW AND RESEARCH AGENDA
Meredith Woehler, Kristin Cullen-Lester, Caitlin Porter, and Katherine Frear
Journal of Management
Substantial research has documented challenges women experience building and benefiting from networks to achieve career success. Yet fundamental questions remain regarding which aspects of men’s and women’s networks differ and how differences impact their careers. To spur future research to address these questions, we present an integrative framework to clarify how and why gender and networks—in concert—may explain career inequality. We delineate two distinct, complementary explanations: (1) unequal network characteristics (UNC) asserts that men and women have different network characteristics, which account for differences in career success; (2) unequal network returns (UNR) asserts that even when men and women have the same network characteristics, they yield different degrees of career success. Further, we explain why UNC and UNR emerge by identifying mechanisms related to professional contexts, actors, and contacts. Using this framework, we review evidence of UNC and UNR for specific network characteristics. We found that men’s and women’s networks are similar in structure (i.e., size, openness, closeness, contacts’ average, and structural status) but differ in composition (i.e., proportion of men, same-gender, and kin contacts). Many differences mattered for career success. We identified evidence of UNC only (same-gender contacts), UNR only (actors’ and contacts’ network openness, contacts’ relative status), neither UNC nor UNR (size), and both UNC and UNR (proportion of men contacts). Based on these initial findings, we offer guidance to organizations aiming to address inequality resulting from gender differences in network creation and utilization, and we present a research agenda for scholars to advance these efforts.